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Mistresses of the Military

It began during our first year of marriage, these mistresses. He brought the first one home one night. When I questioned my husband, his reasoning made sense to me, so I said no more.

But she persisted, and soon he was spending more and more time with this “mistress.” I would hear the conversations, and I became increasingly annoyed, and then even angry.

He said it was ending. We had orders to PCS. I remained patient and tried again with him at the following assignment.

But it got worse.

He brought home another “mistress.” She was even more persistent—bothering him all hours of the day and night. During dinner, he would run out of the room and hold secret conversations with her. While my husband and I snuggled on the couch in the evenings watching our favorite show, she would demand his attention again and he’d walk away to talk to her. Every now and then, I would eavesdrop just a little, but they had their own secret code language, and I couldn’t always understand.

Many times, she would take him away for days at a time. When he was home, I’d turn in at night and find her cuddling near him in our bed! The nerve!

It wasn’t ending.

The military provides mistresses that creep into every corner of your life, interrupting your time together.

At the next installation, my husband met a new “mistress” who constantly pulled him away to study with her. The installation following that one, she took him away for three weeks before we were even settled into our new overseas home. I couldn’t believe it!

Several of my friends have explained to me how they have dealt with similar issues in their marriage. But the word is that as a military spouse, this is just expected.

So, I guess over time, I came to accept that there would always be an extra member in our marriage. You might be asking, “why?”

Because I’m married to a service member.

You see, sometimes, the mistress is a second phone that my husband is required to carry at all times. As a leader, he must be available to answer questions or be called in at a moment’s notice if an issue arises. This mistress is simply bothersome. She pesters and has stolen many precious moments away from my husband and me.

Sometimes, the mistress is a handheld radio that must be powered on 24/7 during rotations; and yes, even go to bed with us. As a trainer, my husband has to continually be on guard and respond immediately when necessary. He must see the missions through to the end, even on his nights “off” from the field to come home for a few hours. This mistress is persistent, obnoxiously loud, and robs us of our much-needed sleep. (Interesting fact that is worthy to note: my husband has the strange ability to sleep right through all the other conversations coming through the radio if it doesn’t apply to him. The second his call-sign radios in, he’s up in a flash to provide his response. I find it so impressive. Me? Every beep wakes me up! Anyone else with me here?)

The mistresses come in many forms: classes, phone and radio communication, and deployments.

Sometimes, the mistress is a computer associated with a six-month course or a year-long school, where my husband must attend class all day and complete homework assignments all night and on the weekends. This mistress is demanding. She exhausts my husband, locking him in our home office, and not allowing him to participate in family outings.

Sometimes, the mistress is a TDY or an exercise, where my husband has to travel locally or miles away for a work assignment or training. This mistress is stealthy, taking my husband away unexpectedly, especially following a PCS. This mistress causes confusion, frustration, and many times, my feelings of abandonment, left to figure out a whole lot of things on my own.

And sometimes she’s the worst of all. Sometimes, the mistress is a deployment. This mistress is somewhat calculated and quite aggressive. She doesn’t care who or what stands in her way. This mistress is the biggest thief of stability, of confidence, of security, of quality family time.

There are many other forms of mistresses who take from military families and attack in different ways depending on the military branch, the MOS, the assignment location, and the circumstances surrounding all of these. (Go ahead, vent and let it out in the comments section!)

I don’t know that I’ll ever completely get over these mistresses and all they have cheated us out of. But I know I’m strong enough, independent enough, and fierce enough to fight them. And I must then show grace enough towards my husband and his “mistresses” to march forward.

Afterall, I’m a military spouse. It’s expected. And you know, I think I can truly be okay with that. Because I know my service member loves me more than any of his uninvited “mistresses.”

Author

  • LaVaughn Ricci

    LaVaughn Ricci is originally from Michigan and met her husband while they were both students at Cedarville University in Ohio. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts, and she also studied bible, theatre, and American Sign Language. She is certified in Teaching English as a Second Language. LaVaughn’s husband commissioned in the U.S. Army in 2004, and the two of them overcame a long-distance relationship through five different duty stations and two deployments before they finally married in 2011. Since then, they have been stationed at seven different installations together, have had four incredible children (two born overseas), and have travelled a decent fraction of the world. LaVaughn loves Jesus Christ, being an Army wife, adventuring with her family, musicals, chocolate, chai lattés, and a quality cup of decaf. She is a homeschooling mom who volunteers in SFRGs, PWOCs, and enjoys helping service members and their families whenever and however possible. She would enjoy connecting with you on Facebook.

4 Comments

  1. Sharita Knobloch

    I think the key is “uninvited” part of the “mistresses” equation. It comes with the territory, but sometimes my service member is just as annoyed by the unwelcome presence as I am. Thanks for sharing the creative angle on the milspouse life, LaVaughn!

    Reply
    • LaVaughn Ricci

      You got it, Sharita! UNINVITED is absolutely the important thing to keep in mind when we are frustrated in these situations. My service member is also annoyed by these uninvited mistresses. The key is finding and prioritizing a work-life balance, whenever we are able, to keep our marriage strong.

      Reply
  2. Scot Shumski

    This was such a great read! Structured in a way that I HAD to read it and written so that I couldn’t ‘put it down’.

    Reply
    • LaVaughn Ricci

      Thank you so much for your comment, Scot. That’s always the goal of a writer, right? 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed this piece.

      Reply

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