Being married to a hero sounds pretty dreamy, right? Well what happens to the spouse in the shadows? It can be so easy to sometimes feel like Robin, in a Batman world.
It is important as a new spouse to know that it is okay to feel left behind or left out. It doesn’t mean that you are selfish and you aren’t the only one to ever have those feelings. I can vividly remember my emotions one night while my husband was getting ready for work some six years ago. This pitiful, lost feeling started to come over me. I was thinking to myself, “Here he is, getting ready to go to his super important job, at a super important place to do something super important. And look at me! I have spit up on my shirt, I’m still in my pajamas from last night and I can’t remember if I brushed my teeth today.” I was having a tiny toddler-esque meltdown in my own head, complete with stomping around while huffing and puffing. I cried for two hours after my husband left that night. It wasn’t his fault, he was just doing his job. I had chosen to stay at home after our second child was born, but I started to feel inferior. When someone comes home from a long day at work and tells you about how busy they were and your only accomplishment was cleaning a toilet and almost getting a load of laundry done, it can sting a little. Not everybody’s life looks like that, but in some ways we all will deal with identity issues related to being a military spouse. So let’s look at some ways to help us stay grounded.
Do not give up on the things that are important to you! Whether it be your career, your hobbies or your family goals. Yes, it may be a little difficult to maintain your career with many moves and the stress of military life, but it can absolutely be done! Maybe it might be a little difficult at first to find people interested in the things you like, but surely Facebook has made that part a little easier. And yes, it can be a little crazy to figure out when the best time to plan a family is. No one wants to give birth in the middle of a PCS (Permanent Change of Station), but people have. And, they lived! Do what makes you happy!
Stay connected with your old friends. Just because you now live far away in a land that they may know nothing about, keep in touch with the people who know you best. Talking to an old friend is like slipping into a pair of pajamas and curling up on the sofa to watch your favorite movie. It’s comforting and just good for your soul. Your lifelong friends can help keep you sane, I know mine have. They will love us despite our weird, crazy quirks. Mostly because they are weird in the same ways and it’s pretty wonderful! So hold on tight to them.
Know that it’s okay to feel lonely, learn to recognize and acknowledge it. You are going experience the loneliness that can accompany military life. Whether it be because you miss “home” so much you can’t stand it or because your spouse is deployed. Or, maybe your spouse isn’t deployed, but has a crazy work schedule. Whatever your reason is, please know that it is a valid emotion. I once had someone tell me to suck it up, because I married into the military I knew what I was getting myself into. You can imagine how much that helped. We can only overcome things that we accept to be true, so if you get nothing else from this article, please know that feeling isolated can come with the territory, but doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to acknowledge it. Talking about it helps tremendously and other spouses will be able to relate.
Now go get out there, step out of the Batcave and show everyone Robin is a hero too! And, better dressed, if you ask me.
Spouses are an invaluable part of the military and together we are one.