Monday, August 3, 2009

14 Things Never to Say to a Military Wife

I've decided that Mondays will be my day to vent and cry, but until he's gone to Pet and then deployed, mondays will just be a time I'm going to use to feature something military family related.

Today's post is a forward that has been going around between us spouses, and I found it really enjoyable.

14 Things Never to Say to a Military Wife

1. "Aren't you afraid that he'll be killed?"
(This one ranks in at number one on the "duh" list. Of course we're afraid.
We're terrified. The thought always lingers at the backs of our minds ---but
thanks brilliant, you just brought it back to the front. Maybe next you can
go ask someone with cancer if they're scared of dying.)

2. "I don't know how you manage. I don't think I could do it."
(This is intended to be a compliment. Though, its just a little annoying.
Here's why: it's not like all of us military wives have been dreaming since
childhood of the day we'd get to be anxious single moms who carry cell
phones with us to the bathroom and in the shower. We're not made of some
mysterious matter that makes us more capable, we just got asked to take on a
challenging job. So we rose to the challenge and found the strength to make

3. "At least he's not in Iraq."
(This is the number one most annoying comment for those whose husbands are
in Afghanistan. What do they think is happening in Afghanistan? An
international game of golf? Guys are fighting and dying over there.)

4. "Do you think he'll get to come home for
birthday/birth of a child/wedding/family reunion,
(Don't you watch the news? No! They don't get to come home for any of these
things. Please don't ask again.)

5. "What are you going to do to keep yourself busy while he's gone?"
(Short answer: Try to keep my sanity. Maybe there's a military wife out
there who gets bored when her husband leaves, but I have yet to meet her.
For the rest of us, those with and without children, we find ourselves
having to be two people. That keeps us plenty busy. We do get lonely, but we
don't get bored, and drinking massive amounts of wine always helps keep me

6. "How much longer does he have until he can get out?"
(This one is annoying to many of us whether our husbands are deployed or
not. Many of our husbands aren't counting down the days until they "can" get
out. Many of them keep signing back up again and again because they actually
love what they do or they VOLUNTEER AGAIN and AGAIN to go back b/c
there is work that needs to be done.)

7. "This deployment shouldn't be so bad, now that you're used to it."
(Sure, we do learn coping skills and its true the more deployments you've
gone through, the easier dealing with it becomes. And we figure out ways to
make life go smoother while the guys are gone. But it never gets "easy" and
the bullets and bombs don't skip over our guys just because they've been
there before. The worry never goes away.)

8. "My husband had to go to Europe for business once for three weeks. I
totally know what you're going through."
(This one is similar to number two. Do not equate your husband's three week
trip to London/Omaha/Tokyo/etc. With a 12-15 month or more deployment to a
war zone. Aside from the obvious time difference, nobody shot at your
husband or tried to blow him up with an I.E.D., your husband could call home
pretty much any time he wanted to, he flew comfortably on a commercial
plane, slept between crisp white sheets and ate well, paying for everything
with an expense account. There is no comparison. We do not feel bonded to
you in the slightest because of this comment and, if anything, we probably
resent you a bit for it.

9. "Wow you must miss him?"
(This one also gets another big "duh". Of course we miss our men. There are
some wives who do not and they're now divorced.)

10. "Where is he exactly? Where is that?"
(I don't expect non-military folks to be able to find Anbar Province on a
map, but they should know by now that it's in Iraq. Likewise, know that
Kabul and Kandahar are in Afghanistan. These basic facts are not
secrets, they're on the news every night and in the papers every day ---and
on maps everywhere.)

11. "Well, he signed up for it, so it's his own fault whatever happens over
(Yes, ignorant, he did sign up. Each and every day he protects your right to
make stupid comments like that. He didn't sign up and ask to be hit by
anything, he signed up to protect his country. Oh, and by the way, he asked
me to tell you that "You're welcome." He's still fighting for your freedom.)

12. "Don't you miss sex! I couldn't do it!"
(hmmm, no i don't miss sex. i'm a robot. seriously...military spouses learn
quickly that our relationships must be founded on something greater than
sex. We learn to appreciate the important things, like simply hearing their
voices, seeing their faces, being able to have dinner together every night.
And the hard truth is, most relationships probably couldn't withstand 6-12
months of sex deprivation.)

13. "Well in my opinion....."
(Stop right there. Yo, I didn't ask for you your personal political
opinions. Hey, I love a heated political debate, but not in the grocery
store, not in Jamba Juice, not at Nordstrom, not in a bar when I'm out with
my girls trying to forget the war, and CERTAINLY NOT AT WORK. We tell
co-workers about deployments so when we have to spend lunch hours running
our asses off doing errands and taking care of the house, dog, and kids,
they have an understanding. We do not tell co-workers and colleagues because
we are giving an invitation to ramble about politics or because we so
eagerly want to hear how much they hate the President, esp. while we're
trying to heat up our lean cuisines in the crappy office microwaves.)

14. "OH, that's horrible...I'm so sorry!"
(He's doing his job and he's a badass. Don't be sorry. Be appreciative and
please take a moment out of your comfortable lives to realize that
our soldiers fight the wars abroad so those wars stay abroad.)

If you want to say anything, say thank you.


Finding Home said...

Good post! My goodness some people can say some realllly dumb things.

Anonymous said...

I'm not even military and I can't believe some people would ask such dumb things.

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Anonymous said...

Thank you thank you thank you!!!!Im going to type this up and post it on my desk. My husband is going away around the same time and Im already getting the ignorant comments. Plus I have a supervisor who always likes to voice HER opinion....Wow...people really dont think before they speak!


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