I sometimes forget that not everyone knows what it feels like to spend half their marriage away from their spouse (and their lifelong friends, family, etc.) We have been so blessed being stationed at MacDill AFB and have met the greatest clients, ministry leaders, and fellow military families who just get us. They are seasoned with experience and wisdom, and sometimes know what you need before you even do. Asking for help and advice from those I admire IS MY FAVORITE. I can not learn enough, and sometimes lessons come through the form of gifts and service. My husband’s first deployment, I shared a post, THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER SAY TO A MILITARY WIFE… AND THINGS THAT YOU SHOULD..” Four deployments later, I know what has truly been helpful. What to say to a military wife before or right after her husband leaves for a deployment? Nothing. You shut your pretty little pie-hole. It’s not you. It’s me. I’ve got an endless to-do list of updating medical, financial, and personal documents. I’ve got a shopping list for both my boys to ease the transition for everyone. I am chill. I am peaceful. But before and during deployments, you will find me with as little patience as possible because you didn’t tell me what I want to hear, “JK your husband is staying home forever and will never leave you or be in danger ever.” If you aren’t saying that, I DON’T WANT IT. Thankfully, this being the fourth charm, I do know what has been the most helpful by the most incredible humans Jesus has brought into this season. Here is what you should DO (not say) for your friend with a spouse deploying:
Offer them a day out/ night off:
You don’t have to know my family well to know how babysitters are non-existent. Our son hates being with anyone that isn’t mom or dad… which is why it is the sweetest thing to have someone come stare at a baby monitor after he goes to sleep. Normally, we are in bed by 8PM. For real, babies and running businesses are exhausting. But sneaking in one last date night, or girl’s night out is gold. OR OR OR OR… give them a day out. A family day at the zoo, a family movie date, childless time at a nail salon, a solid gym workout… Even invite them to a park or on a walk – anything that gets them out of their home or work. With many events to look forward too, time flies by. Help them GET OUT or TURN OFF.
Feed ya girl.
This one is my fave. This fatty vegan LOVES when someone is thoughtful enough to consider if something is truly vegan. Our bible study was the SWEETEST for bringing us three different frozen dinners that were vegan. Another great gift was being sent an UberEats gift-card, which I didn’t even know was possible! There are days where it is just HARD. The car battery dies, the washer dies, THE A/C BREAKS. Anything and everything will go wrong at one point or another, so these blessings of food are so helpful when you’re not quite in the mood to “adult.”
Pray for them.
I don’t mean “oh, and Lord, help them, Amen.” I mean grab their hands, look them in the eyes, and ask, “How can I specifically pray for you?” This can easily turn into an unhealthy form of “venting” or gossip, so look home-girl in the eye/ call her up/ WHATEVER it takes, and see where they need love, grace, hope, and faith. Point them to Jesus, help them pick up their cross, and crush this season that many don’t experience or understand. We can practice all the self-love and junk food our heart desires, but they are just temporary distractions from real hurt, anxiety, and loneliness. When the nails are done being painted and the Mexican food is devoured, they will need community that prays.
I am so thankful for my tribe for sparking this random post, because I hope and I pray that out there it helps another military spouse out indirectly. If you are a friend of a military family and stumble across this in efforts to be there for them, you are gold. I am so thankful for hearts like yours to even want to come along side of us and serve in any way possible. You are the real MVP!
Featured Image by fellow military spouse/ mama: Hannah Sanchez