God Bless the Military Wife

10 May

I grew up as a navy brat, so for me, moving every couple of years was normal. You were expected to go to a new school, make new friends, I never really considered how that was for my mom.

For my dad, who was in the Navy, this was normal. He wasn’t a navy brat like me, but his father (who was a Navy vet) worked in the construction industry. Grandpa built nursing homes across the Midwest, which meant that every 6 months to a year, he had to move to where the work was. But my mom lived in two houses up to that point; one on a farm, then other in town, and all within the same 30 mile radius.

For the next ten years of their marriage, they moved five times. I came along at year two, which always amplifies things, but she seemed rather contented from all the notes and letters that I inherited. My dad volunteered to avoid the draft (strange, but true) during the Vietnam War, so when the war was over, everyone was getting out. The personnel guys offered him a deal he couldn’t refuse… a massive jump in pay grade if he signed up for another tour. Not having anything to go back to, he agreed.

Unfortunately, not many sailors took the same choice, so the Navy was woefully undermanned in the late 70’s. That meant when my dad was put on a fleet tender, instead of the normal six month rotation, he was on it for almost two years. He hates that ship to this day. Me and my mom moved back to her hometown and lived there, because there was no point waiting in Charleston when he rarely got off the boat.

So much like myself, my mom had to make new friends, and sometimes get new jobs (although I think they made do on his income most times). Then deployments… where he’d be gone for God knows when. Again, I was pretty young for most of this, so having my Dad gone for most of the time was… my version of normal. Communication was done through letters and cards and few and far between. Thankfully, like the ex-pat community, there is a whole community of Navy wives out there to connect to, regardless of where you’re stationed.

What broke their marriage was not her being upset at the situation, it was his infidelity. Despite the fact that she moved everywhere with him, vets will tell you that they can’t relate to the civilian world. The demands of the service require a lot of you–it’s a zero-excuse environment, because doing your duty could mean the difference between life and death. After the places you’ve travelled and the things you’ve seen, how do you go back to your wife and pretend to be the average 8-to-5 working man? So when they divorced, he got married to a Navy officer, and they’ve been together ever since.

It’s a terrible arrangement, but to do it for so long is nothing short of a miracle. It’s not uncommon–honestly, the divorce rate among military couples is only slightly higher than the national average–so I’m amazed when they stay together. Then again, I’m amazed when anyone stays together, but I could be exaggerating. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! Then if like how I tell a story here, check out one of my books. However, if you don’t like paying for my stories, go ahead and download one of my stories for free.

One Response to “God Bless the Military Wife”

  1. rebecca s revels May 10, 2021 at 10:30 am #

    It is somewhat similar to being married to a long haul truck driver and not going along. One partner is left at home while the other travels the country. It too is a lifestyle where infidelity is not unusual.

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