STOP ASKING ME:
"Aren't you afraid that he'll be killed?"
This one ranks in at number one on my "duh" list. Of course we're afraid, you dimwit. We're terrified.The thought constantly lingers at the back of our minds - but thank you so much for reminding me yet again. Maybe next you can go ask someone with cancer if they're scared of dying.
"I don't know how you manage. I don't think I could do it."
Though this is really annoying, I feel bad about mentioning it because I know that it is intended to be a compliment. Still, it's not like all of us military wives have been dreaming since childhood of the day we'd get to be anxious, light-sleepers who carry cell phones with us to the bathroom. We're not made of some mysterious matter that makes us more capable, we got asked to take on a challenging life and we rose to the challenge.
"He's in Iraq? I'm sorry."
This comment, while meant to be helpful, is annoying! My husband is doing exactly what he wants to do. He is making a positive difference in the world, training the Iraqi military, and helping children who dream of growing up in a world free from strife. This is his job, this is our life, and this is how we choose to live it. We choose to live this life because our ideology.
"Do you think he'll get to come home for Christmas/anniversary/birthday/birth of a child/wedding/family reunion, etc?"
Don't you watch the news? No. They don't get to come home for any of these things. No, they often don't get to teleconference as much as people assume we get to for special events. Please don't ask again.
"What are you going to do to keep yourself busy while he's gone?"
For one, try to keep my sanity. Maybe there is a military wife out there who gets bored when her soldier leaves, but I have yet to meet her. For the rest of us, we find ourselves having to fill the shoes of two people--husband and wife. On top of that we have to keep strong in public and ourselves in private. That keeps us plenty busy. We do get lonely, but we don't get bored.
"How much longer does he have until he can get out?"
This one is annoying to many of us whether our guys are deployed or not. Most of our men aren't counting down the days until they "can" get out. The military isn't a slave program they are sold into, it's a choice. Sorry to break it to you but many of them keep signing back up again and again because (gasp!) they love what they do.
"This deployment shouldn't be so bad, now that you're used to it."
I'm sorry, just how do you get used to watching your man go off to war? It's not a little business trip. There are bombs, bullets, and some very bad people who are bent on killing. My man and his guys are the barrier that keeps them from coming here and trying to kill us. Sure, we figure out ways to make life go smoother while the guys are gone. But it never gets easy and the bullets and bombs don't swerve around our guys just because they've been there before. The worry never goes away. It's not exactly conducive to easy sleeping. We learn coping skills. We never get used to it.
"Well, this is what you signed up for when you married him."
This is probably one of the most unthoughtful and brazen things you can say to a military wife. Not only that but it is the most common "insult" military wives come across. Firstly, thank you for showing a lack of common sense and compassion. By no means does a military wife faithfully commit to the lifestyle not expecting her husband to go to war and for his life to be put in extreme jeapordy however, how does that make us more or less prepared to receive his deployment orders? To tell him goodbye for 6, 13, or 15 months, or maybe forever? How does that prepare us for the random and unexpected battles we will face alone while they are away? We as military wives do not ask much from anyone, let alone civilians who have no idea what the life is like, but you can show a little compassion and support for us. We are the ones left behind as our husbands go to war. We are often more alone than you could ever know--show a little compassion and respect when you talk to us.
"My boyfriend had to go to Europe for business once for three weeks. I totally know what you're going through."
This one is similar to the one above. Do not equate your boyfriend's three week with a 7-10 month deployment to a war zone. Aside from the obvious trip length difference, nobody shot at your boyfriend or tried to blow him up with an I.E.D., your boyfriend could call home pretty much any time he wanted to, he flew comfortably on a commercial plane, slept between crisp white sheets and ate well, paying for everything with an expense account. There is no comparison. We do not feel bonded to you in the slightest because of this comment and, if anything, we probably resent you a bit for comparing a combat deployment to a business trip.
"Don't you miss him?"
No, not really... What do you think?! Of course we miss our men. If we didn't, we wouldn't be together!!!