August 31, 2010

We're All In This Together

I ran across a statement on a blog the other day that touches on a topic I've been meaning to discuss for a while now.

"[T]here is nothing more annoying {to a military wife} than listening to someone complain about how their husband is gone when he (1) can call {well, we hope at least, haha! this is never guaranteed}, (2) is safe, and (3) is coming home in a month."

Back almost a year ago, I "came out" as a new milwife (yes, it was a secret for a little bit). I was ignorant of military life, scared and having almost daily breakdowns at the prospect of my husband leaving for BCT & OCS for the next 6 months.

If that had been the attitude I encountered among the milwife blogging community, I would have quit blogging almost immediately.

Instead, I was fortunate enough to have made connections with BBs with a more mature attitude than that, who taught me from the get-go that an absence is an absence, and that I am allowed to miss my husband when he leaves for training every bit as much as someone who misses their husband while he's deployed (and several of theirs were at the time). Their support and understanding is what drew me into this community of amazing women, and taught me how, in turn, to treat others going through similar experiences.

Me and My SoldierMan: We're All In This Together

I'm not perfect, for sure. None of us are. We all have our moments when we are weak, and judge others as being "weaker" than we are because we don't think their experience is as "bad" as ours. In fact, just a few weeks ago I saw a whole blog post that was along that same vein, saying that anyone who's husband isn't actually deployed to a war zone shouldn't post saying how much they missed their husband or were lonely or depressed or whatever.

I'm just going to say it: That's childish. That's immature. That's an attitude of one-ups-manship, saying "Well, my situation is worse than your situation, so you should just be quiet - and listen to me instead!"

And if that's been you, I'm saying this in love: You need to stop. That type of attitude does nothing to build morale, to strengthen relationships, and if you are a Christian, it does not benefit the Body of Christ. At all.

We're supposed to "rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." (Romans 12:15) That means, even when SoldierMan was gone recently and we went the longest we have ever gone without contact and I was literally going out of my mind, I was still supposed to be genuinely thrilled when every one of my IBOLC friends (yes, every. single. one.) posted on facebook that they had gotten a text message, phone call or email. I was supposed to be as happy for them as they were for themselves. And mostly, I was. Sure, I was also envious. But I still made an effort.

It also means that when someone is having a hard time with a separation - regardless of the circumstances or how long it is - we're supposed to be right there with them, not look down on them as though they didn't deserve to be lonely or sad. Um, who among is is more worthy of feeling emotions than someone else? Do we have to earn the right to feel? Who set that standard?

Life is hard enough without us making it harder on each other. Be a mensch. Have a heart and lend an ear. You never really know what someone else is going through, so always treat others the way you would want to be treated. That's all.

23 comments:

  1. This post rocks! Really I hate the whole, "well you have it easier than me so you can't complain at all." kind of thing I see online.

    We all have our days. We all have times where we miss our husband more than other days.

    What I really do like about the military community is that if someone is having a bad day because of X, usually someone else has been in that exact same spot and can offer sympathy in return.

    Us wives need to support each other through all the crap we have to deal with.

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  2. Absolutely fantastic post, just really, really great. And I agree 100% with every word you said.

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  3. I see both sides. I've found myself annoyed at times...but I'm not sure if it's because I thought I was dealing with worse, or I was just annoyed with that person in general.

    Anyway, today I said something to a friend about J being in WLC and he'd be in the field for a week with no phone service. I said it was crazy that I did the amount of time I did...but was sad over 5-6 days. It's true...anytime they are gone it sucks.

    I think the thing for me is...I GET that when you miss someone, you miss someone regardless. And that's perfectly fine. But in certain circumstances, I think it can come across as insensitive. ("I TOTALLY know how you feel....I UNDERSTAND!...) You see where I'm going...

    We both need work...

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  4. I think everyone has a right to be sad or lonely or whatever... regardless of the situation.

    I know my husband being in training for 6 months during my pregnancy might be harder on me than, say... a year-long deployment when my hormones aren't such a wreck.

    Good post!

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  5. I am a "soon to be" MIL wife and just "dreading" the time of seperation as my husband leaves me and my two boys and have already had people say that I shouldn't complain about it because it is nothing like when HE WILL be gone to Afghanistan later.
    I love your post and although I am not a military wife YET I can see how having support through EVERY seperation is important.

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  6. I agree with you although I agree with the original thought too! I think there's something very different about your loved one being safe and just busy during the day than being in Afghanistan for example. That might not be the PC thing to say but chances are (and yes we never know) that the man who is on US soil is most likely safe whereas the man in a war zone may not return. That doesn't mean they are missed any less but they are very very different situations, in my opinion!

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  7. Thank you. I am alone for the very first time in my life... 3,000 miles away from home. He is only gone 3 weeks, but they have been the longest three weeks of my life! I miss him so much, but everytime I write about it I feel like I have to explain how it's my very first time with no support.

    We're getting ready for a seven month deployment and since he's on a ship, everyone thinks he's safe, because he's not in A-stan or Iraq. Newsflash: he's on a nuclear powered city floating in the ocean. One bomb and they're gone. They could be attacked, something could blow up, they train for fires twice a week! I know it isn't "as dangerous" but in my heart, it is.

    We should focus on building each other up, not breaking each other down.

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  8. Thank you. I am alone for the very first time in my life... 3,000 miles away from home. He is only gone 3 weeks, but they have been the longest three weeks of my life! I miss him so much, but everytime I write about it I feel like I have to explain how it's my very first time with no support.

    We're getting ready for a seven month deployment and since he's on a ship, everyone thinks he's safe, because he's not in A-stan or Iraq. Newsflash: he's on a nuclear powered city floating in the ocean. One bomb and they're gone. They could be attacked, something could blow up, they train for fires twice a week! I know it isn't "as dangerous" but in my heart, it is.

    We should focus on building each other up, not breaking each other down.

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  9. Very well said! We all go through our different ups and downs. We're not any better than someone else because we're military significant others (or because we're a spouse instead of a girlfriend). I always am embarrassed when someone complains about their spouse being away for a weekend or a week, and then looks at me and goes.. "Oh, sorry." Yeah it's tough for me when P is gone. It'll be hard when he goes to his course next year, it'll be hard when he deploys next. But that doesn't mean you can't miss your significant someone when they're gone too.

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  10. Thank you for this...I always feel like I don't deserve to miss Dusty publicly because he's not actually deployed. But like you said, "an absence is an absence." And I was right there with you on the no contact thing. Dusty doesn't even take his phone, so I feel you my friend. BUT again, I agree that you can rejoice when someone else gets to, because...well because that's what we should do. I believe in "mourning with those that mourn, and comforting those who stand in need of comfort," and let's just add being happy when someone else is happy to the list. By the way, we missed you at the 80s party last night. You doing okay?

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  11. very well said...thank you for posting this

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  12. GREAT POST! I completely agree with everything you said!

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  13. This post doesn't specifically relate to me at the moment dealing with separation...but I needed to read this. I have been struggling lately with God and this was nice to read.

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  14. I love this post : ) You always say exactly the right thing!

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  15. I ran into this a lot last year. I had several people tell me that I had no right to be upset when my husband was deployed to Korea because he wasn't in the middle of the war. It hurt, a lot. It definitely made me shy away from the blogging world for a while because that was where the attacks came from. I couldn't get them to understand that though my husband wasn't in daily danger, we were still living on opposite sides of the world. The Army would not allow me to move with him and we did not talk every day so I missed him terribly. I recognized that it could be much worse but my situation still sucked.

    My husband will be deploying again next year but because he is ADA and works with patriot, he will not be in Afghanistan. He will be near it. Their system doesn't work short range so being in country wouldn't help anyone. It would endanger more people. Anyway, I am sure I will encounter some of the same people again and it makes me want to completely withdraw from everyone. I don't think they realize how badly they hurt others when they make comments and post rants like that. It is belittling a person that is already having a hard time. They really aren't helping anyone.

    Sorry, all of that was just to say I totally, 100% agree with you.

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  16. I so agree with you ONE MILLION PERCENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I always feel weird when my husband is underway, because no he is not in a "war zone" but yes he too must wear a bullet proof vest, carry a gun and deal with illegal drug smugglers, illigal immigrants and stupid people who wouldnt think twice about taking his life.

    alot of army wives deal with 6 month deployments but then their honey is home EVERY night for MONTHS AND MONTHS...the longest my man will be home EVERY night, is a week. Every week he spends 2-5 days away from home...that fact is so hard to explain to deployed wives and I always feel as if people act as if their situation is worse. but then when they ask when he gets to come home for a long period of time I say..."umm three years", then they realize what I deal with..I dont think either is worse, I believe they affect us the same.

    Milwives look down on the Coast Guard alot, but many people realize that the Coast Guard is like any other branch of the military calling 911...they are always there for every other branch, yet I get harsh messages sometimes!

    Its so sad that women think the way that they do sometimes.

    Thanks for the post, it was sooo refreshing to read!

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  17. Amen sister! This is great, I love the bible verse!!

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  18. Awesome! YOu always know how to write things so well... =) I totally agree! Sad =( Although, I do have to say that dealing with civilians can be annoying when they "miss" their husbands on a weekend business trip. However, to them, that's a big deal. As to us, the separation we go thru is a big deal, whether it's a few weeks of training or a year long deployment...it's time away from our soldiers, and it sucks! But, oh the band of strength we can have together as mil spouses. =) I always love reading!!!

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  19. Amen to that! Everyone's suck is a little different, regardless of the distance, danger or length, just like everyone's life is a little different. That's what makes the world such a unique and wonderful place.
    Getting into a 'my situation is worse than your situation' debate smacks of insecurity, if you ask me.

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  20. Love this! I've posted about missing my boyfriend, when he was gone to training. I believe I even posted about this same subject as your post, or at least commented on someone's one upmanship. When I made a statement, people were like my husband is deploying...two weeks is nothing. Or they would say, well...it's been 60 days since I have seen my man. I'm like seriously... I didn't know this was a competition. Just because they are deployed, doesn't mean that you miss them more than someone who isn't. You can miss them just the same. Training isn't necessarily safe either. Neither is a business trip. Anything can happen, no matter where someone is. Everyone has the right to miss their significant other. If you are away from the love of your life, you miss them. End of story.

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