Dear Military Spouse: It’s OK To Not Be OK

We recently passed the “It’s been two months since he left” milestone. And I’ll be honest, I’m not faring as well as I assumed I would.

These first two months have felt much longer and drawn out than I would have cared for. Considering there are approximately six to eight more months to go, I really hoped/thought/needed the first two months to be easier.

I thought staying busy would be a good and necessary distraction. I thought my job and the Monday through Friday routine of work would be the equivalent to time-travel. I thought that moving home, and being surrounded by family so that I was rarely alone, would be a sure-fire formula for escapism.

Turns out all my coping mechanisms are nothing more than very weak, very insecure, very fear-filled and weary attempts of running away from the reality that he is not here and that I can not bring him home sooner by being mind-numbingly busy.

My striving does not, can not, will not right a fractured world filled with war and plagued with a need for justice. 

 It’s very difficult for me, when asked how I’m doing and how often I hear from The Pilot, not to smile and make them (and myself) believe that it’s really going quite swimmingly. I’m strong. I’m independent. I know what I was getting into when I said, “I do.” I have no excuse to play a victim card and so I refuse to accept people’s pity or remorse for my circumstances.

But truth be told, this is a really arrogant and selfish stance to take. It’s not honest, either.

It’s arrogant because it send the message that I don’t need help. And I do.

It’s selfish because it communicates that I don’t need community and the opportunity to stop thinking about myself. And I do.

It’s not honest because, while I don’t consider myself a victim, I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know how to navigate this space outside of trial and error and that’s just hard and so often, painful.

More than any of this, though; beyond all the busy striving and “faking it til I make it” mentality, fear, doubt, and insecurity are truly draining and chipping away at my faith. My faith that says, “God is sovereign. He loves me. He accepts me. And He does not need me to clean myself up before I can be a useful and productive tool for His kingdom.”

My fear says, “I don’t have what it takes after all. I’m not equipped for this and I am failing.”

My doubt says, “I’m not the kind of wife that The Pilot thinks that I am. He can’t see all the ways I’m not holding steady and if he could, he’d be disappointed.”

And my insecurity says, “Try harder. Do more.”

Deep in the recesses of my spirit, I know that my fear, my doubt, and my insecurities are nothing but lies. But friend, they can be so loud.

And the louder I allow them to become, the more isolated I find myself because I feel the need to conquer them on my own. After all, I am the only one that allowed them to gain so much ground, so I must be the one that fends them off.

There in lies the problem.

I can not do it alone. And neither can you. We’re not hard-wired by self-reliance. From the beginning, God created for Adam a helpmate. A helper fit for him.

We’re not only intrinsically made for relationship, but it is through relationship (I believe) that we can more clearly and intimately experience God’s grace and presence in our lives.

Relationships, must be transparent and honest and real and raw of them to be life-giving. Which brings me to my point:

It’s OK to not be OK.

I, am not OK for right now. And friend, there is room here for you if you care to join me. Not to wallow. Not to commiserate. Not to drown in self-pity.

You’re welcome to come broken and share your burden with me and I will share mine with you. And together, let us speak truth and life into the dark places of our hearts. Let us help one another remember, “You do not have to believe everything you feel.” Feelings are fleeting and flippant. The truth of God’s word is unwavering and eternal and it wields much power.  So lets encourage each other to preach to ourselves what we believe to be true and hold steadily to the faith we profess.

Where two  or more are gathered, He also is there. So come and bring your fears, doubts, and insecurities. You are welcome here. There is room for you here.

And you will never be alone.

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14 responses to “Dear Military Spouse: It’s OK To Not Be OK”

  1. I posted on my blog yesterday titled “Hashtag No Filter: 5 Ugly Truths” and shared something so similar to this. I’m not married to my Marine, in fact my Marine isn’t even a Marine yet… He just left for boot camp about 2 weeks ago. But I’m already drowning in my emotions… all of them… the good, bad, and the ugly. It’s a hard path. Harder than I ever thought it would be and harder than I have ever wanted to admit to. But I am inspired by the community of military spouses and significant others and so encouraged to keep trudging forward until the distance ends.

    • admin says:

      It IS hard, but you can do it, Danni! We’re all learning our way through it everyday. There’s no one right way or one wrong way. It’s different and unique for every one, so don’t compare yourself to other girlfriends or spouses. Your strengths are your strengths. Lean into to them and offer them to others, but don’t ever feel defeated if you journey is different from the women standing beside you. Your Marine chose you for you, not so you would look like, act like, or be like all the others.

  2. Evelyn says:

    Mere, this is a wonderful post. Such deep truths from such a sweet heart. Thanks for sharing and letting us know not only where you’re at, but allowing us to be in the same place if we need to. 🙂 <3

  3. Rose says:

    Meredith, I love this. It reminds me of one conference I was at where a woman said that she wants to be a woman of strength, not a strong woman. Such a subtle but powerful difference. I admire your willingness to strive for strength, and your willingness to admit how much you need encouragement and support. We were never meant to do this life and all its hard things all by ourselves. We were meant to be in relationship with Him and one another. Praying for you to have the support and love you need as you wait for The Pilot to hold you again.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Mere, you are a great communicator and encourager. Thank you for being honest about how you are experiencing this and how others are likely experiencing it too.

    You have boasted about your weakness. May our God now bring His power there to rest on you. 2 Cor. 12:9-10

  5. Casey says:

    I am the fiancé of a marine and have to admit it’s difficult. I work 40 hours a week the have a 5 year old that loves his future step dad very much. I’ve been trying to find people, sane military spouses to befriend. My old friends can’t understand how I feel and say that I’ve gotten boring. In reality I’m just prioritizing and hanging out at the bar with them isn’t my scene.
    I’m in a rut, I work and come home. If my son wasn’t here I’d be stir crazy. My question is how do I find military wives around me? I’m 28 years old and I have been with my marine for almost 2 years. Though he didn’t even think about being a marine until last year. How do yall keep busy while they are away and you can’t call them? Just wanting friendly advice…

    • admin says:

      Hey Casey. Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing where you are at. I can genuinely say that I truly understand so much of what you feel, with the exception of being a mother. I work too, but from home. I can honestly say that I don’t know that I have “figured it out” myself. I often feel relatively isolated from other marine wives, not because they’re not inclusive or kind, but because scheduling conflicts get in the way. If military wives are anything, they are understanding and flexible when it comes to trying to get together and needing to reschedule frequently. I can’t tell you how many times I have cancelled on a friend or have been cancelled on. I have found that many wives truly understand the need to prioritize family and children above social outings, ESPECIALLY when husbands come home or early or have unaccepted availability. My piece of advice would simply be that when opportunities come up (and they always do) to get together with out marine spouses, take the time to find a babysitter and go to a few events so that other wives can you and see that you are making an effort and truly cultivate friendships and find community. I don’t know if your future husband is in the aviation community or not, but if he is, there are all sorts of wives socials, often on base, that can be fun to go to with other wives from your squadron. Once you’re married and your name is associated with his within his command, often times, your soon-to-be-husband’s commanding officer’s wife will reach out to you to welcome you and invite you to places or events. It’s takes time and it’s not always easy, especially when you don’t know anyone and you show up alone, but it’s usually always worth it.

      • Casey says:

        Thank you for the advice. I’ll have to wait until we are at his permanent duty station. It will be my first time living outside of Texas and I can already feel the culture shock coming on. Thank you again so very much.

        • admin says:

          I’m from TX too! Yes, culture shock is inevitable. But, as I’m sure you know, Texans are everywhere and they abound in the Marine Corps;)

  6. Ashli says:

    My husband is in the process of applying for a pilot contract with the marines, and I have spent the last hour reading your posts (mostly in tears). This life sounds like a real life “Lord of the Rings” adventure, and I’m equal parts excited and scared.
    Thank you so much for you candor and for taking the time to publish your experiences. I feel stronger going in.

    • admin says:

      Ashli! I am so sorry it’s taken me so long to respond, but I am so grateful for your comment! Thank you for reading! I’m glad you found the solace and truth that you needed in this humble little blog. It’s not an easy journey, but it is a grand adventure, just like “Lord of the Rings!” I’d love to know how you and your husband are doing through the process of applying for the aviation contract. Please keep me posted!

  7. Rochelle says:

    My Marine just recently deployed, and while it is not our first rodeo for some reason it is the hardest! It hurts deeper than I remembered and seems insurmountable this time around, I was crying out to God asking Him for help…for something and your blog popped up. Thank you so much for this post. Its nice to know its ok not to be ok. I am feeling all the same feelings you wrote about. I just wanted to say thank you!

    • admin says:

      Rochelle, thank you so much for reading! I am so grateful that you found comfort and encouragement here. Sister, you are not alone. Deployments do not get easier and I truly understand the feeling of not knowing if you have what it takes to make it through another one. But you do! And you will! And God’s faithfulness, His goodness, can be even richer and sweeter during this time while your Marine is away. I’m so grateful He led you to this post and I’m honored that the words offered you what you needed to hear. Hang in there, girl. I’ll be praying for you.

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Posted in: Marine Corp