Let's get to know military wives:
- Military wives typically pack all their things and move every 3 years.
- Most are very young. The average age of a military wife in our church is 25.
- On average, they have 2 children under the age of 5.
- If all the military wives lived in one state, it would have a larger population than Wyoming or Vermont.
- Over 250,000 will pillow their heads tonight without their husbands next to them.
Being a military wife can be challenging (especially during deployments), but dealing with people's ignorance can be even harder. Here are 13 things you should never say to a military wife, along with how the gospel sustains us when someone does.
1. "Why are you crying? You chose this life!"
Let us vent. We don't need you to remind us that we knew about deployments coming in to this. We need an ear—and a shoulder to cry on.
- "My husband has not met our newest child."
- "He missed our oldest's first footsteps."
- "We will not be together on Christmas."
I don't need you to tell me to "Suck it up, Buttercup." I will do that. I will go into "Single Mom Mode" and do what needs to be done, but right now I need a friend.
The Gospel: I don't always live in Barbie Fairytopia. Sometimes I hurt, I bleed, and I need some help getting through life, but I have found comfort in the healing balm of the gospel.
2. "Has your husband ever killed anyone?"
Our husbands have had to make tough decisions and do some very difficult things to protect our freedom and the freedom of others. Let's just leave it at that.
The Gospel: We believe firmly in the Imago Dei (Latin for "Image of God") and the Augustinian Just War Theory. We don't believe they conflict. We do not believe that "Just War" is an assault on the image of God, but a defense of it!
3. "Aren't you afraid he will get killed?"
Why? Why would you ask this?
Sometimes people lack even more tact and say, "I hope your husband doesn't get blown up."
Of course I know the dangers, but I try not to focus on the worst-case scenarios.
The Gospel: Following Jesus can get you killed. That can happen if you follow Him into a desk job or into a military job. I believe you are not ready to live until you know what you your willing to die for. We are banking our hope in the next life—not this one. Jesus can put "blown up" people back together. We have hope in a resurrection.
4. "I could never be away from my husband that long. I don't know how you do it!"
I know this is intended as a compliment, but it comes off sounding dismissive. I don't have special DNA that makes it easier for me to deal with my husband's absence.
The Gospel: Jesus promises a grace that is sufficient in my dark days. That grace won't show up before I need it; it shows up when I need it. I'm telling you there is nothing you could imagine that the Lord wouldn't hold you up under.
5. "Don't you get lonely?"
This is probably the most common question. We try to stay in close communication with our husbands through phone calls, texts, and Facetime.
The Gospel: Jesus is a sympathetic High Priest. Jesus knows—and when He sees me battered and banged up, He's sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for me.
6. "My husband just left for a 9-day work trip. I totally know what you are going through. You want to struggle through this together?"
I am not sure if those two are even in the same atmosphere, but I would love to struggle through this with you 😀
The Gospel: I have found that God brings Christ-centered friendships into my life to help sustain me in these times. Gospel friendships are powerful because they have a means by which to deal with conflict—the gospel. Most of these relationships are found through a local church.
7. "I bet you can't wait until he gets out?!?"
Doesn't it sound like my husband is in prison? 😀
Leaving the military has its own set of unknowns, including where to live and what career to pursue post military. It's a little like starting over—at retirement age.
The Gospel: Our family has determined not to find our worth from our occupation. We love the military, but the military does not define us. I am not what I do. I am who I am in Christ. We are human beings, not human doings. When our occupation changes, we will not change.
8. "Why don't you move back home while he's deployed?"
I actually don't enjoy packing up those U-Haul trailers.
I want to keep my children in the current routine: getting up for school, homework after dinner, soccer games on Saturday, ballet on Thursday, and church on Sunday.
The Gospel: My ultimate comfort is not found in a certain city or a certain house—it's found in Christ.
9. "Do you think he is being faithful to you while he is gone?"
"I heard a lot of men cheat with female soldiers while they are deployed. Aren't you worried about that?"
The Gospel: We are ferocious about protecting and improving our marriage. Some marriages are going to be hard!
On a scale of 1 to 10, some marriages, at their best, are a 4. But we lean into grace. We lean into the promise. We lean into what God is displaying in our marriage. We don't punt easily.
10. "Don't worry! This deployment will go by so fast. Can you pass the popcorn?"
After I dump this popcorn on top of your head, I would like to explain that it actually doesn't go by fast. Not faster than strep throat, not faster than morning sickness, not faster than any other thing.
The Gospel: The gospel gives me grace to repent from bad attitudes 😀
11. "Are you planning a vacation to Afghanistan to see him?"
Yes. Next week. Will you come with me? 😀
12. "You must be used to this."
- At one base, I'm "one of the moms"; at the next one, "I don't know anyone here."
- My children have met their best friends here. Now, we are leaving.
- Always resettling is something you never get used to.
13. "How do you go such a long period without having sex?"
Does it seem like this is a question that's a tad too personal? Nevertheless, it keeps rolling out of people's mouths.
The Gospel: Our marriage is bigger than us. It is a shadow to a greater reality. It's just the preview before the main event. Our waiting reflects an even greater waiting—when the bride of Christ is united to her Groom.