Military Wife

47 Things No One Tells You About Being a Military Wife

She turned her head towards me and uttered the words I dreaded most, “You knew what you were getting into right?”

I always hate getting asked this question because, in a way, I did know what military life would be like–frequent moves, separations and the overall feeling that life is a like a revolving door.

But at the same time, I didn’t REALLY know. Take marriage, for example: you have an idea what your relationship will be like years later, but you don’t fully grasp it until he’s covered your entire house in gear vomit for the third time this week.

The same goes for parenting. You can read all the books on toddler discipline and prepare for ages, but nothing really prepares for a toddler flinging poop at your head you until you experience it first hand.

Another perfect example is going to college and landing your first job. You study and plan to knock your first job out of the park, but inevitably, you will fall down, make mistakes and have customers “question your abilities.” 

47 surprising things about being a military wife. Great read for military spouses and military significant others. I learned so much from life with our military family over the past eight years.

(photo credit: Sgt. Joshua Spalding / DVIDS)

This is life.

It’s filled with unexpected surprises each and every step of the way. Before becoming a military wife, these are 47 things I never thought about…

  1. The first deployment is a brutal shock to the system.
  2. Each subsequent deployment or separation will turn you into a bag of nerves, despite adequate planning, prep and support.
  3. Deployments don’t get easier, you simply gain more tools to cope with deployment separations.
  4. You will spend nearly the entire time at your current duty station speculating about where you will go next.
  5. Someone will ask for your address history and you will nearly pass out.
  6. Your ID card will become an extension of your body. Without it, you’ll feel lost.
  7. At some point, you’ll get a citation for not pulling your weeds, cutting your grass or leaving a stroller outside your door when living on base housing.
  8. Learning acronyms and abbreviations will become your second language.
  9. Some duty stations will feel like the worst place EVER, right until you meet your BFF…two months before your rotation date.
  10. Patriotism will root itself deep into your heart.
  11. Getting your taxes done at the base tax center will be the scariest thing you do all year.
  12. You will travel insane distances to see your friends and family back home.
  13. On top of that, you’ll drive 8 hours to see your service member for 3 hours and this will seem normal.
  14. You’ll spend the majority of your time as a military spouse either unemployed or underemployed.
  15. People will say a lot of silly things to you like…“I could never do what you do.” And you will find a way to answer with grace and tact.
  16. Homecoming will feel like falling in love on a blind date. First comes the honeymoon phase, and then it just gets awkward.
  17. You’ll make a plan only to make a new plan over and over again.
  18. Something will always break down during deployment. Always.
  19. At some point, you will feel lonely and wonder what in the world you are doing with your life.
  20. Military life will take you to the highest of highs and lowest of lows emotionally.
  21. Your ability to handle tough situations will rise exponentially.
  22. Attending the annual military ball will feel like prom…for adults.
  23. PCS stickers will remain on your furniture indefinitely. They’re everywhere! 
  24. Something extraordinarily important to you will receive major damage during a PCS move or it will get lost completely.
  25. You will try to explain your life as a military wife to a civilian and they won’t get it.
  26. The family readiness group is going to help you when you least expect it.
  27. Any savings you get from the commissary will get cancelled out by all the rotten produce they sell you.
  28. Moving overseas will give you a panic attack, but then you’ll do it and actually love it.
  29. Having a pet will complicate your life …from finding a pet-friendly home to securing a safe place to kennel your fur baby.
  30. Finding a homecoming outfit will take an ungodly amount of time.
  31. Upon arriving to the military base gate, you’ll either forget your ID card completely or you’ll hand them a credit card.
  32. The number of long-distance friendships you maintain will far exceed the number of friends living in your current duty station.
  33. Determining the perfect time to start a family will feel like advanced college calculus.
  34. Talking about possible funeral arrangements, living wills and military widow death benefits will happen early in your relationship.
  35. You’ll get pregnant and he’ll announce he’s leaving on deployment…right before your due date.
  36. Military gear will take over your entire home before and after every deployment.
  37. People you barely know in the military community will do extraordinary things for you at the drop of a hat.
  38. Your heart will feel an overwhelming sense of pride each time someone thanks your service member for his sacrifice and service.
  39. Amazing friendships doesn’t even begin to describe the relationships you will form with other spouses.
  40. Taking calls at 3 am from halfway around the world will seem normal.
  41. After living in the same place for 3 years, you’ll be itching to move again.
  42. You’ll have a good deployment meltdown at least once every deployment.
  43. Reinventing yourself will become an annual thing.
  44. Hearing gunshots and bombs won’t phase you even a little bit.
  45. Resilience, strength and courage will become the core of who you are as a person.
  46. Your military marriage will grow apart and back together over and over again, and it will turn you into one helluva strong couple.
  47. It’ll be hard, challenging, make you want to quit and piss you off royally, but in the end, you be so glad you did it.

47 surprising things about being a military wife. Great read for military spouses and military significant others. I learned so much from life with our military family over the past eight years.

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51 Comments

  1. I’m a military wife now. I’m married to an Army gentleman. He’s in basic right now and this has been so hard. Its been 2 months and I have been crying often. Hes a terrible commicator when he’s away. And I need to commicate certain things with him. I’m scared. I don’t know what to expect. I’m very upset right now that I even decided to do this life with him. But I love him. I’m only almost 2 months in and he’s just in basic so..I can’t say much now other than it is hard emotionally and can mess with your mind a lot. My advice is to make sure your relationship is solid before going this route. Even then hiw can you be so sure? Don’t do it if you’re an emotional woman like me. On the flipside sometimes a man needs a woman like that who can feel his pain from miles away and be discerning enough to be able to offer a sense of comfort. Make sure you discuss finances, emotional feelings, and try to get on the same page. Try to remember why you fell in love. Do whats best for you.

  2. First of all thank you ALL for your service, military personnel and their spouses and families. I was an ex-pat wife for 20+ years (still married just no longer packing my bags) and there are a number of similarities in the corporate expat life and the military family postings overseas. A lot of what you say rings true for me too. I am an artist, currently working on a series of paintings of women of iron and I truly believe the wives of military men fall into this category. You are left behind to deal with problems on your own but expected to hand the reins over when they guys reappear. You pack you bags and follow where the career goes. You are often a single parent. You have to conform to expected behaviors and comport yourself in a manner befitting the uniform even though you don’t wear one. Kudos to you all.

    Lauren, IF I ever finish this series and exhibit it, I would love some input from a military wife on the write up I plan to post with the paintings. Any chance you would be interested? You are welcome to PM me if you have questions or any advice. 🙂

  3. I’m not sure if I’m late to the party or whatnot but my husband left for Navy boot camp 3 days ago and it has been really difficult. I’m not really sure how to make friends or find others in the same situation especially ones who are as young as I am since my husband and I just got married right when I turned 18. I’ve found this website really helpful but I was wondering if anyone had advice about where to find support or people who know what I’m going through to talk to.

  4. How about adding another item as to what no one tells you about being a military wife……that the very people that you live among, retirees in many cases, Marine retirees, esp female, or female retiree spouses….are jealous and hateful towards a military widow.
    Never ever in my wildest dreams have I ever seen such a backbiting environment…..and be it with civilians too. Depends on the character and them being content with their own lives…..but it is truly an eye awakening life. So beware…..nothing you can ever do will change these people, they just never see the loss, but see the money and benefits as THE reason of hating a military widow.

  5. My fiancé is in AIT training right now, and we’re getting married once he’s stationed and processed into his unit. I already miss him terribly, even though our relationship has always been long-distance, with him living in Colorado and me in Missouri. I have severe anxiety and depression, and I’m really nervous about how long periods of time away from him are going to affect both me and our relationship in the long-run. I’m really proud of him and I love him so much, but I also know how much even a few weeks is taking out of me. Do you have any advice on how to cope with this separation anxiety?

  6. Me and my boyfriend have been dating a few months and we plan on getting married so he doesn’t have to live on base in the barracks. I love him and will do anything for his comfort and so he feels supported. My only worry is not receiving that back seeing as I also have a career. I am a CDL driver and I love being on the road we keep this country moving just like the keep us alive and safe! It’s a nice balance but when I think about kids I think I want to stay home and I want my husband with me… he doesn’t seem to want to stay in super long but I can tell it makes him happy in a way it makes him feel accomplished and he’s already been in 3 years. I’m naturally not a clingy female but with him I’ve been a total different person I am truly in love with him he makes me so happy and I love that I make him happy. He deserves a submissive and loving woman in his life and I want to be that. I never had a lot of relationships to use as a guide for this one so sometimes I feel like I’m just going on a whim and maybe I am moving too fast but I have hope we will stay communicating strong. He’s in Fayetteville Nc and I’m currently in Raleigh that’s a hour away we ping pong back n forth but rn he’s going back to work with the military and is out of school. And I’m currently training to go OTR for my job driving it’s a process because I just want to live with him already but Ik once he gets deployed to Dubai at the end of this year I will be alone again…. so I guess I should just get accustomed now. I rlly pray everyday that we continue to talk the way we do because I will do anything for him and I have so many talents and a great job to keep me busy I just don’t want to have this plan in my head that he veers from because he decides to stay in the military longer than what we discussed. I’m planning on trying to start a trucking business with him though and clothing line so he doesn’t have to think the military is his only and final duty!

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