I Didn’t Choose This Life
You signed up for this!
I believe the most annoying phrase I hear said to military spouses, and even from military spouses themselves, is “You chose this life!” or “You knew what you signed up for!” (Excuse me while I go laugh, inappropriately, in those peoples’ faces). I never understood people when they say that phrase, it just doesn’t make sense. How could you choose this life or know what you were getting into when you said “I do” to your spouse? Now, I agree, when I took my marriage vows, I was agreeing to do this whole military life but I sure as heck didn’t know what lay ahead of me. You may have been a military brat and had some idea of military life but it is completely different than being a military spouse.
You Can’t Fight Cupids’ Arrow
You can’t help who you fall in love with, in fact you can fight it all you want or deny it to the ends of hell, but it will still be there, taunting you. I find it ironic, I actually prayed quite consistently, “Please, God, don’t let me fall in love with a military man”. Look where that got me! My husband was working at a kid’s summer camp when I met him. We joke about it, my mom actually told me, “Hey, Molly, there’s a lot of cute boys working at the summer camp. Go pick up your brother and maybe you’ll meet one!” Well, dang it, I did! It was actually my birthday, June 29, 2011, when I met my, now, husband. He played that cool, “Oh, it’s your birthday, are you going out to celebrate?” card. Of course it worked, how could it not? He was tall, dark and handsome and just happened to be in the Army. Well, shoot, there goes my plan. Fast forward to the next spring, we were very much in love. My husband flew back from BOLC (training) to surprise me with a proposal. Of course I said yes! He had to report to his first duty station (Fort Hood, TX) soon, so I stayed behind until I graduated college.
The Leap of Faith
I moved from Maryland to Texas in the summer of 2012, having no idea what I was getting myself into. I remember driving to the airport, fighting back the tears (I’m a huge Daddy’s girl). I was waving goodbye at security and could barely look at my dad for fear of crying. What was I doing? I was leaving everything I’d ever known behind to start a new life with my then, fiancé. I remember I couldn’t talk about my family, for months to come, without fear of crying. I have two brothers who are exceptionally younger than I am, so it made it quite difficult to leave. No, no one was forcing me to leave, I wanted to start a life with my future husband…it just meant I would have to move across the country to do so. I can’t imagine how difficult it was for my dad to see me go. I imagine he was equally sad for my departure and proud of me for taking this leap of faith.
“For Better or for Deployment”
We said I do, on June 22, 2013, in my husbands’ childhood church, in our hometown. Surrounded by our family and friends, I was very blessed to be marrying my best friend. “For better or worse, in sickness and in health…” Looking back, you might as well add, “I promise to memorize your social security number”, to understand I will work hard to get a job, only to leave it a year later, to leave friends behind, to move at a moments’ notice, to give birth two weeks before a PCS (yep, that was fun!), to support you when you deploy, etc. I could go on and on. Did I know what the worse would entail? No. Would that of changed things? No.
Someone might look at that list of vows and think, “Heck, no!” or “What kind of life is that?” Yes, military life has its hardships but it also has amazing positives that I would have never imagined. So, let me add, “I will be your life-long adventure partner, I will see amazing states and countries with you, I will make life-long friends with strangers, I will always put my right hand on my heart at the national anthem and it will take on a whole new meaning for me, I will form a bond with the military and be forever grateful for its’ opportunities, to be your road-trip buddy, to realize how little material things matter, to embrace change, and welcome each new challenge as an opportunity.” So again, looking back, I didn’t know what I was getting into, but it wouldn’t have changed a thing.
I didn’t Choose This Life
So, before you are quick to tell a military spouse, “You chose this life” or “You signed up for this!”, please tread lightly. There are some that will agree with you, and to each their own, but I am not one of them. You can’t help who you fall in love with, and I just happened to fall in love with a soldier. I didn’t choose this life, but I chose him. The unpredictable life that goes with it? Well, to be honest, I mostly love it but it does have its hardships. The places the Army has taken us and the life-long friends I’ve made, are irreplaceable. The challenges that have been thrown our way, we’ve faced them together and made it through, every time. This life can make or break you and although I’ve had my down moments, I am a stronger woman for it! My friend, nothing can prepare you for this life. Loyal friends, a supportive spouse and God are what keep me afloat on this crazy life! I may not know what lies around the bend for us, but knowing I have my husband by my side, it makes it all okay. I have a lot of friends who say to me, “I could never do that!”. Well, never say never, my friend. You can’t fight cupids’ arrow and life has a funny way of proving you wrong.
How did you meet your military spouse? What vows would you have added to the list, looking back? I’d love to hear them!