BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Giving a Voice to the Voiceless

Posted by egehl on March 10, 2010

Those of us who are civilians go about our everyday lives and don’t often think about the men and women serving our country, and the families struggling everyday because of that sacrifice.  While service men and women fight and defend our national goals abroad it is the spouses, mostly women, that have to keep the family together and functioning as normal as possible.

When we think and talk about the work and sacrifice of our military, we cannot leave out military families.  The military has increasingly become a community of families, as one in seven active-duty members enters the military married and for those entering the eighth year of service, three in four are married and many have children.  And when the service member leaves for duty the glue that keeps the family together is the military spouse.

For every person in uniform, there are loved ones back at home that are just as tied to that person’s deployment and the time and effort it takes to serve our country.   The wives of those serving in the military are just as battle fatigued as the service members. While they aren’t in the military, they feel like they are after multiple deployments and months being separated from their spouse. After 8 years of war, military families are at the breaking point and need support. 

Military families are just like civilian families in that they often depend on a two person income.  While the majority of military spouses are employed, typically they earn less than comparable civilian spouses.  In addition, they must become single parents while their spouse is away and take care of the children alone, which adds additional stress and challenge to balancing work and life. 

Not only do wives struggle with the absence of their spouse, but so do the children.  Two million military children are faced with wrenching separations from a parent and suffer from feelings of depression, anxiety and abandonment.  According to a RAND study, children in military families have emotional and behavioral difficulties at rates above national averages, and reported symptoms of anxiety and problem behaviors like fighting in higher numbers.  Military wives must help their children through these challenges alone, and are faced with the daunting task of supporting their children emotionally so that they won’t suffer from long-term repercussions. 

For a long time military wives have not received a lot of attention. However the internet and blogging has changed that.  On NBC Nightly News, a story was shared about a woman named Rebecca living in the Fort Bragg area who started a blog entitled “Operation Marriage”

Rebecca is a military wife whose husband is a veteran of three deployments and could be sent on a fourth.  She started the blog because she wanted to give a voice to the voiceless, and she blogs honestly about her intimate feelings and experiences surrounding her husband’s deployment.  She strikes a chord with other military wives with her brutally honest blog entries.  Through her written word, military wives can commiserate together and find solace knowing there are other women who experience the same emotions they endure everyday.

The internet also offers military wives with advice and support on how to shoulder the enormous responsibility and inevitable sacrifices that come with being part of the military community.  For instance, iVillage shares 21 best tips on how to deal with a spouse’s deployment.  

Our country owes a lot to the men and women fighting everyday in multiple wars, and the families left behind who support them.  Military wives have had to endure a lot over the past 8 years of back to back conflicts and repeat deployments that create months of separation.  They too need help and support to get through these difficult times, and I applaud women like Rebecca for creating an outlet to express how it really feels to be married to both a man in uniform and the military.

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