We've all seen the military wife propaganda that circulates. Military wives are fierce. They are strong. They are independent. They can do anything. They are superheroes.
I'm sure you've also heard the legends of fearless military wives. The military wife that found out her husband was killed in action and invited his buddies over to watch football that same day because she was worried about them. The military wife that never complained when her husband unexpectedly deployed the day after their wedding or their first child was born.
While these trite sayings and quaint stories are enough to make any military wife feel empowered, how far is too far with these facades and legends? When does the feeling of empowerment by the circulation of these stories and ideals get overshadowed by feelings of inadequacy? I think it happens very quickly.
From talking to other military wives about their personal struggles and from reading other military wives' blogs, it seems that the reality of military wives is indeed one of strength. But it's also one of vulnerability. The real stories of military wives are that they lock themselves in the bathroom to have a good cry because their toddlers are too much that day and Dad won't be home for months to help ease the burden. They go to weddings, parties, holidays, and family reunions by themselves because their husbands aren't home. They sleep with their phones in hopes of getting a phone call from their husbands in the middle of the night. Or they sleep with their phones so they can check their email several times a night in anticipation of an email from their husbands. They check all the doors and windows at night, set the alarm, and make sure their car keys are beside their bed in case something happens. Their emotions are a wreck and will be unleashed on an unsuspecting person. The slightest mishap can make a military wife throw her hands up in surrender simply because she has to handle another thing alone.
These are the real stories of military wives. The legends are just that. They are not real. And the legends and cute catch phrases associated with military wives should never be used as a tool against military wives to shame them into behaving a certain way, specifically as an immortal, solely independent, and happy woman who has her act together all the time. It's just not right to place those unrealistic expectations on anyone.
Military wives: take off your superhero cape and rip it up! Be real. Be honest. You're not strong all the time. Let other military wives know it's ok to take off their superhero capes, too. We are hurting ourselves, our families, and those around us that genuinely want to help us when we wear the military wife superhero cape. Just like other superheroes, military wife superheroes are legends, fairy tales, and folklore. Superheroes do not exist.
Instead of finding fading strength in "being a military wife," find your strength in the Lord. "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song." -Psalm 28:7