We arrived at our little 2 bedroom apartment just outside of Fort Bragg shortly after our honeymoon. I was thrilled to finally be living in the same place starting our life together and ready to take the next steps towards my dream of becoming an attorney.
Let me just say that people say you know what you’re getting into when you marry someone in the military...um...that’s a hard no.
You know you’re in love and you want to be with that person, but you don’t quite know what introducing military life into your own will mean.
Now I know that there are lots of spouses who will say that the military is “just a job” and it has absolutely nothing to do with who you are and what you do. I’d like to politely disagree. Sometimes as people we like to feel like we’re masters at compartmentalizing because it allows us to have control over the various areas of our lives. I just don’t feel like that’s realistic.
No matter what your spouse or even your kids do, it becomes a part of your life. You just get to choose how much or how little.
I always think of police officer spouses as a close parallel. The hours, dangers, stress and nature of the job has an effect on the family. No matter what your chosen job or profession, what you do impacts those around you—especially your family. Military spouses are no more special than any other spouses, but we do face challenges unique to this lifestyle.
I’m not even going to sugarcoat it: Military life comes in like a control freak determining where you live, your family dynamics and even your career path. I have to say we were pretty fortunate with his unit at Bragg. The leadership and their spouses were great at providing mentorship and a sense of community during a time when the op-tempo was high and deployments were frequent. I very quickly realized there was a lot I didn’t know about life as a military spouse—customs and courtesies, unwritten expectations and more importantly how critical it would be to learn the importance of flexibility and finding my tribe early on.
For the first few months after we got married, I studied for the LSAT and worked at a law firm. Four months after we got married, I found out I was pregnant. A month later, B got deployment orders for the first time.
We had recently purchased a house and were moving in and I was barely settled there before he left. Then came pregnancy complications that forced me to move back home to Atlanta with my parents...and the realization that I would have to navigate the months ahead without him there.