Every job and every lifestyle in the entire world has its pros and cons. Every job and every lifestyle has its own way of doing things; its moments that stress you out, and its moments that make you so proud to be in that job or lifestyle. The military is no exception to this.
I'm a big fan of the show "Army Wives". I caught the preview for tonight's episode after catching up on last week's that I had missed and it got me thinking. In tonight's episode, someone has died in action and they are dealing as a community with this tragic loss. The number one hardship of the military life, in my opinion, is the fact that this isn't just something that happens on TV, this is real life. As a military spouse, you will have people tell you that they understand how you feel. Whether it be long-distance relationships, jobs that take them away a lot, risks, etc. they'll say they know how it goes. The truth is...they don't. Most long-distance relationships have a lot of communication, be it via email, phone calls, Skype, visits here and there, etc. Military long-distance relationships often don't have that. There are times when months go by without hearing your loved one's voice. And long-distance relationships in the military often come with that big fear that your loved one isn't coming back. Our military significant others signed up to leave the families for months at a time and enter into a war-torn country, possibly to sacrifice their life. No one can really understand that except for someone who lives this life.
The military life isn't all stress, though. Take the National Anthem, for instance. It's played before all major sporting events, some concerts, etc. and most people don't think all that much of standing up and waiting for the song to end so they can move on to see whatever attraction they are at. When you become a military spouse, however, that song takes on a whole new level of feelings. In college I had gone to several sporting events and never really put all that much thought into the National Anthem. Now, I get chills when I hear it and I feel a sense of pride that no one can understand except those of us who signed up for this life. For, my husband is the one who signed up to serve the country, but I'm the one who signed up to support him.
There's a reason when a service member retires that both he, and his wife, are recognized and given certificates from the President. It's a lifestyle where both sacrifice and both serve. It's a lifestyle that comes with a lot of stress and a lot of pride...but it's one I wouldn't give up for the world.