To the Spouse who is also a Student

An open letter to the military spouse who is also a student.

Dear military spouse 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 guys 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 or 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 5 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 because I felt like I was supposed to.

Some people I knew thought I was starting my marriage off on a bad foot, being separated, and was hurting 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 had been working on for over 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 hubby is no fun and school is hard!).

And ya’ll 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 is worth it.

Finish your degree, put your all into school. It is 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 wife for not knowing those things. I realized when I got to Fort Benning that other wives 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 wife, 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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About Grace Lipscomb

Grace Lipscomb has been an Army wife for a little over a year. She was raised all over the world from South Carolina to Micronesia. A recent graduate from University of South Carolina where she completed her masters degree in Counselor Education, emphasis in marriage and family counseling, she is trying to get her foot in the door to provide services for troops and family members. She is currently a full time stay at home puppy mom to one rambunctious little ball of energy. She loves Starbucks, friends at the dog park, baking, eating all the sweets and cheese she can, and obsessively re-watching all episodes of Gilmore Girls.

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