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To the Milspouse Who is Also a Student

Dear milspouse who is also a student…

I know your struggle, because until just a few months ago, I was that spouse. I couldn’t move with my husband when he came to a new duty station because I was in school. I couldn’t visit because I couldn’t miss any more classroom time.

Because I wasn’t with him, I didn’t know any of the service members in his company, I knew none of their spouses, I couldn’t attend any events the company hosted. Heck, I didn’t even know what company, battalion, or platoon he was in, and I didn’t know any of his commanders. I didn’t know the FRG leader. I didn’t know his schedule.

I was five hours, 300 miles away, and woefully out of the loop. And you know what? It didn’t even occur to me that I needed to know these things but didn’t, because school was all-consuming. That was, until someone would ask me and I would have no clue and feel disappointed in myself that I knew so little about what my husband was doing.

Some people I knew thought I was starting my marriage off on a bad foot being separated, and it would hurt our new little marriage and possibly my husband’s blossoming career.

But what was I supposed to do? I was one semester away from finishing a degree I’d been working on for more than 20 months! Was I supposed to let all of it be a waste?

No, I was determined to finish.

My husband wanted me to finish.

I was going to earn that degree with all the blood, sweat, and tears (emphasized for a reason—missing your spouse is no fun and school is hard!).

And y’all who are with me know it’s no joke trying to balance a marriage, whether together or separated, and nurture your relationship all while working your tail off in the classroom!

Here is what I want you to know: It’s worth it.

Finish your degree, put your all into school. It’s possible to maintain a positive marital relationship with your spouse. The boost in self-esteem and confidence knowing that your hard work earned you something will not only help your sense of self-worth, but that boost in self-confidence will have positive benefits for your marriage as well.

That sense of accomplishment will extend way past the classroom.

I realized I wasn’t a bad spouse for not knowing those things. I realized when I got to Fort Benning that other spouses didn’t know either. No one was attending the FRG events, nobody else knew the commanders. I slowly came to realize that I wasn’t as far out of the loop as I thought in some places. And the places I was, it wasn’t a big deal.

My husband didn’t love me any less because I didn’t know; it certainly didn’t mean I loved my husband any less.

So here are my final words for you: You are not a bad spouse—you are one who is working hard trying to better yourself! You are amazing because I know how hard it is, but you are a strong, wonderful person!



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