I had a long time civilian friend ask me how I can stand the military life. She was so supportive when my husband chose to re-enlist in the Army after a 19 year break in service. But somewhere beneath the support was this nagging question she had to get off her chest. She admits that while she doesn’t get my life since becoming an army wife, she is really trying to understand. She had to know WHY? Why would we change EVERYTHING for a life that we have no control over? Why would I leave my life as a suburban housewife to become a military spouse?
So I stopped to think about it….Why anyone would CHOOSE a life with long (and short) separations, constant moves, crappy pay, not to mention the inability to plan anything…..and if you are like my friend, you may have wanted to ask if we had officially lost our minds on that winter day in early 2008!?! Truth be told, sometimes I think , almost 4 years ago when he decided to put his boots back on and attach the stripes on his chest, that we definitely had a screw loose somewhere. I mean what were we thinking of leaving the comfort of friends, family and all we had built for THIS? A life full of unknowns and change…Yeppers definately reasons that’s are not easy to put into words…
So I began thinking about how to explain this life in a way that people, who aren’t intimately familiar with it, could understand what’s behind it all. How do I let them know that it’s the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done? How do I explain that while he took his oath and stated the “Warrior Ethos” I silently made up my own. So I decided to share the “oath” I made up and took on the same day he did so you can get a better understanding as to how I focus my mind so I can be “Army Strong”.
I have never shared this before and it was modeled after the Warrior’s Ethos and goes something like this….
I am a Military Spouse.
I am a strong member of a special team. I serve the people of the United States as I support the Army Values.
I will always be accepting of the mission even if I don’t understand it’s purpose.
I will never be defeated by long separations from family/friends, deployments or unexpected challenges.
I will never quit on myself, my soldier or my family.
I will never forget that our mission is bigger than we are.
I am strong physically and mentally. I excel in my role as a military spouse.
I promise to always maintain my home, my children and myself to the best of my ability.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to handle anything that comes our way.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am a Military Spouse.
So you ask why I do it? How am I able to live a lifestyle that is so different from how the majority of the world lives? Because it’s that important to my spouse and it makes a difference in the world. The reality is, and I think I speak for most of us out here, as a military spouse you learn to appreciate things in a whole different way. You learn to change your expectations and go with the flow. You accept that things aren’t always equal, and that you need to be stronger than you have ever been before. And most importantly you take pride in knowing that you are just as much a part of their choice to serve as they are.
Is it easy? Nope. Sometimes do you want to throw things and scream about how much it sucks? Yep. Do you get angry because at times it feels that someone else is in control of your life? Absolutely!
But when your family (and I emphasize family) takes that oath, you will do as I did and looked at your home for the last time as a civilian and know you now have to be Army Strong, not only for yourself, but for your children, your spouse and your country.
Back 4 years ago, I knew we were being called to do something that even now I don’t really “get”. But over time I’ve realized that being in the military is a physical, emotional and logistical rollercoaster that frankly isn’t always easy. However it’s similar to any ride worth going on, there are times that you want off so badly, but when it’s over you know that you would get back on again if given the chance.
~Judy Davis, the Direction Diva is a motivational speaker, author and lifestyle blogger as well as a military life and teen suicide prevention expert. Co-founder of DASIUM, Judy’s books Right Side Up and Warning Signs: Is Your Teen at Risk are go to resources for families and her websites are filled with tips, inspiration and resources for those looking for direction. Connect with Judy at TheDirectionDiva.com