A common misconception about military life is that the active duty member has no time for their family. And that their family just has to accept that and deal with it. While this is true, they do work a lot, they do have time off; time they get to spend with their family.
In some branches the active member will stand 24, 48, and even 72 hours for a duty period. However, after such a long duty period they are generally given days off. In other branches, they work a 9-5 type position. Other times, they will be required to be away from home for longer periods of time. But, once they return the military is usually pretty good about giving them time at home.
During the course of my husband’s career, he has missed birthdays, anniversaries, and even holidays. More than once, he has stood duty on Thanksgiving, and even been gone for Christmas. The first time this happened, I was devastated. I didn’t know how I would survive him being gone for such an important occasion. However, with the support of my actual family and my military family, I got through it. The next time he had to stand duty or was gone for an important event or occasion I realized that it was ok. There is always time to celebrate at another time. There is nothing wrong with cooking a Thanksgiving dinner in October, or leaving your Christmas tree up until February. What matters is that it is special for you and your family!
As a military spouse, you are expected to make sacrifices and come in second every once in awhile. These are the realities you have to accept and deal with as a military spouse. But, you shouldn’t let it stop you from joining the military or stepping into this life. Those in command have families too; they want to spend time with theirs as much as everyone else. It may feel at times that your spouse doesn’t have much time for you. But, most of the time those in command are doing the best they can to get your loved one home to you. Military service members are gone often, and do work a lot of hours; but, they are able to find the time for their families as well.
A life in the military comes with sacrifice. There will be times that your significant other may have to give up time with you for duty. However, the old saying, “If the military had wanted you to have a family, they would have issued you one” no longer stands up in today’s military. The military has evolved into a family oriented service. Family may not always be able to come first, but they do their best to make sure members have the time to devote to their families.