View Full Version : The ups and downs of being a military spouse

05-17-09, 10:13 AM
The ups and downs of being a military spouse
By Pam Zich, Special to Stars and Stripes
Stars and Stripes Scene, Sunday, May 17, 2009

In honor of Military Spouses Appreciation month, I am dedicating this column to all the brave women and men who have dared to marry into the military.

There are plenty of benefits to saying "I do" to someone who is in the military. However, as most of you know, it’s not a one-way ticket to the good life. In my 19 years as the wife of a Marine, I have had my share of ups and downs as a military spouse.

I’ll begin with the wedding, in which Ron waited for me at the end of the aisle, looking handsome in his dress blues. Someone managed to capture on video the one last glance he made at the back door, his only means of escape.

But he stayed put and everything went as we had planned it, right down to the traditional sword arch we couldn’t have because most of his Marine buddies were off fighting in a war.

Marines have a habit of not staying in one place for very long, and that was something I had to get used to right away.

Military spouses have to adjust to experiencing many of life’s biggest moments alone. That includes birthdays, graduations and sometimes the birth of a child.

I enjoy the little mini-breaks that come every now and then, but when Ron goes away for six months or more at a time, I’m not a happy camper. Life isn’t all wine and roses when Ron returns from a long deployment, because the boys and I have a completely different routine when he’s not around.

It should come as no surprise to readers of Life on the Home Front when I admit that I’m the fun parent in our house. So when Ron is out of town, we have hot dogs for breakfast and Lucky Charms for dinner if that’s what we’re in the mood for.

It’s a shock to our systems when he comes home expecting us to adhere to a rigid schedule and keep breakfast cereals in their rightful place at the breakfast table.

The hardest pill for most military spouses to swallow is getting used to the constant moving required of us. Most of us are smart enough to know what we’re getting into, but that doesn’t make it any easier when it’s time to watch another moving truck drive off with all our possessions.

I have lived in places I never dreamed I would even travel to as a child and learned to call them home, making friends with people from all over the world. That’s definitely one of the best parts of being a military spouse.

But I have also watched my son get off the school bus in tears every day as he began classes at his fourth elementary school in five years. I felt helpless and somehow responsible when my child tried a little too hard to fit in at his new school.

Wanting to end this on a high note, I’ve saved the best for last; my fellow military spouses have been the people I have turned to in times of joy and times of desperation. I have relied on other military wives to do everything from picking up milk for me at the commissary to picking up Tommy at preschool after I crashed my car. They have taken care of me when my mother was on the other side of the country and couldn’t be by my side.

Without them, I’m not sure how I would have made it through these 19 years of being married to a Marine!

When we arrive in a new place, it is the other wives who make sure I can find my way around and feel at home.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has been married to a Marine for 18 years and currently lives in Springfield, Va. You may e-mail her at homefront@stripes.osd.mil or visit her Web site at www.lifeonthehomefront.com.


05-22-09, 09:21 PM
Hi Ellie,
This is Mallory. I'm 16 years old and have complete respect for the Corps. I know it sounds crazy but I have always wanted to find a husband who is willing to serve our country. Ever since I was 11(maybe younger) I've dreamed of the Sword Arch and Dress Blues at my wedding. Today at school I was talking about my dream and a teacher overheard me. She asked why I wanted a Marine rather than someone who would be there all the time and I replied like I usually do when asked that, I said because for someone to be willing to put down their life for their country is deserving of so much respect I wouldn't even know what to do. She then told me that out of all the places in the military that the Marines had the highest divorce rates. I don't know if it's true or not but you seem to know many Marine wives so you may know the answer.

05-22-09, 10:46 PM
Well, well, you got real chummy with Ms Ellie.

Iffen I were you, I would fix my profile real quick, before she wipes your slate clean.

05-22-09, 10:50 PM
Ummm okay wait. Can you explain how I got chummy? Sorry I just don't understand why you would say that.

Gunner 0313
05-23-09, 12:30 AM
:flag:What's up with the onslaught of trolls in here lately ? I guess I should check my Phases of the Moon calendar.

05-23-09, 12:46 AM
Okay I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you guys. Seriously, I really am sorry.

05-23-09, 09:01 AM
Westphal6 (http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/member.php?u=62477) This message has been deleted by (http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/member.php?u=62477)thedrifter (http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/member.php?u=7). Reason: PROFILE BEFORE POSTING
(http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/member.php?u=62477)Westphal6 (http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/member.php?u=62477) This message has been deleted by (http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/member.php?u=62477)thedrifter (http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/member.php?u=7). Reason: PROFILE BEFORE POSTING
(http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/member.php?u=62477)Westphal6 (http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/member.php?u=62477) This message has been deleted by (http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/member.php?u=62477)thedrifter (http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/member.php?u=7). Reason: PROFILE BEFORE POSTING (http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/member.php?u=62477)

Three deletions there Gender Female. Have you got the message yet?

Oh wait, rules don't apply to 16yo's.

Sorry, and respectfully, my bad!:cry:

05-23-09, 09:14 AM

Three deletions there Gender Female. Have you got the message yet?

Oh wait, rules don't apply to 16yo's.

Sorry, and respectfully, my bad!:cry:

The Rules are for All...

Anyhow...she has NO Business even talking in this thread...We are Not a Dating Service.....;):D


05-23-09, 01:18 PM
Thanks for the post Ellie! It reminds me that once in a while Marine Wives are appreciated!!!

05-17-11, 11:37 AM
Wow! That was pretty touching actually! Its nice to get a view from a spouse because although I am not a "spouse" yet the date is set!! :D 20110812. Been with mine for 5 years. So just want you to know I'm not just a little child posting. ;) Thanks for sharing your story! I know it will be tough but I'm ready. It i so helpful to see other spouses who have made it work for so long. Gives me great confidence! Goodluck (even though you don't really need it! You're a very strong woman!)

07-02-12, 08:10 AM
:) LOVE THIS, thanks for sharing!

doc h fmf
07-05-12, 11:43 AM
The marines have 2 heros their spouses and their docs

semper fi andmay god richly bless each and every spouses.

Stephen doc hansen hm3 fmf

07-06-12, 04:33 AM
Thanks for the post, I couldn't agree more :)

A T Fitzhugh
07-28-12, 03:27 PM
How do you pass the time by? its so hard going to sleep at night without him by your side. how do you handle missing him so much with him being gone so long? Its hard to just wait for a letter or a phone call. any advice you could give would be wonderful. i havnt seen my husband in almost 3 months and its really getting to me. and it scares me to think of him getting shot at. im normaly the kind of woman to look at the brighter side, but its been kinda difficult lately.