I often find myself thinking about all the things I have learned since becoming a military wife. I look back on the past eight years and am amazed at how much military life has taught me about patience and perseverance, the importance of community and friendship, and the significance of the phrase “Semper Gumby,” always flexible. It has helped me to recognize how short a year really is and to more fully appreciate the good things in my life. Of all I have learned over the years, there has been nothing more influential to me as a military wife than the value of having a teachable heart.
Although there are many advantages of military life, there are also many trials and tribulations. It is easy to get bogged down by the hard times and become negative when faced with struggle. But behind every difficult situation is a lesson to be learned which can benefit our lives in some way. By having a teachable heart, military wives can learn to recognize those lessons and embrace their circumstances knowing that something good will eventually arise from the challenges.
Throughout my husband’s three deployments, I cannot deny that I struggled with bouts of negativity. I would catch myself complaining about everything and getting angry at my husband for things he could not control. There were moments when I would burst into tears because I felt hopeless to change a situation I disliked so much. But what got me back on my feet was remembering that, even though I couldn’t see it, there was a reason for my pain. There was a lesson to be learned from this trying time in my life and I wanted to figure out what it might be.
Helen Keller believed that “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” I could not agree with her more. Because I had faith that there was a greater purpose to my hardships, I was able to bring myself to the point of understanding the lessons which life was trying to teach me. When I did, all of the pain and frustration, all of the time I had spent feeling badly, suddenly became worth it. I could see that the struggle wasn’t done in vain, but rather to change my life for the better. Each lesson I have learned has not only helped me view life’s challenges with a more positive perspective, but also has prepared me a little bit more for the trials I will face in the future.
Because we live in a lifestyle that often presents undesirable situations, it is essential for military wives to see their circumstances as learning experiences. But it is not enough to merely recognize the lessons. We must be willing to seek understanding and allow our hearts to be molded by what we find. By having teachable hearts, we have the ability to withstand the challenges of military life and to discover the reasons why those challenges are so valuable in creating fulfilling lives.
Lisa White is a Marine wife and mother of two. She has been through three deployments and four moves in her eight years as a military wife. She has a Master’s degree in Health Education, but has spent the past five years being a stay-home mom and learning about life through deployments and motherhood. She has a passion for writing and uses it as a way to share her experiences with other military wives in her blog, A Chance to Bloom. Her goal is to provide inspiration and encouragement for making the most of military life.