I have spent nearly the last 3 years as a single mom. It's been really hard. There is uncertainty and loneliness. You bear the struggles of family life alone. You juggle the schedule alone. You do the homework alone. You do the chores alone. You wouldn't choose to do it this way, but sometimes you have to. Finances are tight. You make tough choices alone, all while making the most of the simple pleasures in life. If a child is sick, or the car breaks down, the wheels of life keep turning and there is no backup.
Now that I have been granted an annulment I'll be marrying my longtime friend of 22 years. He happens to be in the military and I am getting a brand-new perspective on all the challenges that military families face. I am just touching the tip of the iceberg here, but I see some similarities to single motherhood and some unique challenges that are specific to the stress of military life. I found that facing upcoming deployments and the uncertainty of military life is a shared experience among most military families. The spouses left behind are left to figure things out on their own. They rarely know very far in advance where they will be going or any exact dates. It's hard to plan on anything. Then they must drop everything, and adjust to the new set of circumstances the military will drop them into. They leave family. They leave friends. They leave jobs. They leave their home church. Then after they do all that, and are relocated, their service member deploys, leaving them alone in a new situation. Now that they are on their own, they will also be celebrating births alone, anniversaries and birthdays and holidays ALONE. Yet these resilient spouses must find a way not only to survive but to THRIVE! These are the most amazing spouses. They do all this in the name of love for their spouse, and in service of their country.
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In preparing for my new role as a military spouse, I have joined a few military community groups online, Military Wife and Mom. I have made a few friends and acquaintances, and I listen as they pour out their concerns and experiences. In addition I will be participating in a course that is being developed for military families going through deployments to strengthen marriages before, during and after those deployments.
"My “job” as an army wife is so beyond my natural skill set.
I am so unqualified to send my husband, the person I love more than anything, off to war, to spend a majority of my nights alone and lonely.
I am so unqualified to daily carry the weight of crippling worry for my husbands safety.
I am so unqualified to muster up enough strength to spend hours on the phone calming my overwhelmed husband who is struggling with the things he has seen and experienced. Only to hang up the phone and burst into tears because holding them back took my whole being.
I carry with me always a quote from one of my college professors, “God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.”
He qualifies us for His calling on our lives. God has placed this calling on my life. He has been qualifying me all along to fulfill this calling. The amount of time I have spent in prayer, the amounts of time I have spent alone in solitude have equipped me for this.
This choice meant learning how to turn loneliness into blessed solitude, tears into prayers, and anxiety into trust. It meant choosing joy over fears.
. . . The denial that they are leaving again, (on deployment).
The “see ya later day” finally arrives (and is the worst pain imaginable).
Realizing that he will miss holidays, birthdays, anniversaries etc…
Struggling for the first month to get through normal life…
Reading the spouse documents and deciphering through all the acronyms…
When it’s been a rough day and you just want your man…
Showing up to big events alone…" (from Unqualified by Emily Geiseking)
I asked to interview Emily, as her story was echoing the stories of so many that I have encountered in our online military community.
Copyright 2017 Marya Jauregui
About the Author
Married to her longtime friend and mommy to 3 high energy children, who demand her constant attention, and direction, Marya serves on the board of directors for a Domestic Violence non-profit. When not working, she is working out, taking the family for nature walks and adventures, or at the movies. She lives in Southern California and feels absolutely blessed to enjoy the beauty of the area every day.