Did You Really Just Ask Me That?

Did You Really Just Ask Me That?

Guest Post By: Alison McGhee

A few weeks ago I was speaking to an old co-worker of mine whom I hadn’t spoken to in over a year. She didn’t know that I had moved, gotten married or that most importantly my husband had joined the Army.

So when she asked what was new I of course told her everything. Her response was unexpected. Not in the typically unsupported sort of way that you come across occasionally, but in a way that I never could have anticipated.


“So then you’re not really married.” That was what she said, all because I told her that while my husband was doing his training, we would be living apart – 500 miles away.

There are a number of things wrong with this sentiment, however due to the fact that I don’t live in a military town, coupled with the fact that she is in her early twenties and has not had a serious relationship since high school, I am inclined to let it slide. But on behalf of all other military spouses and family members out there I want to take a moment of your time to explain why the meaning behind her words, innocently as they may have been uttered, couldn’t be further from the truth.

Yes – I am really married. I am married so much so that I am willing to sacrifice everything for my husband and his career. I am willing to sacrifice my job, my friends and living in the same city as my family for him. I am willing to change plans on a dime and rearrange not just my whole day, but my whole life plan to suit the needs and wants of my husband and his career.

Yes – I am really married. I am willing to follow my husband around the country, possibly around the world, in order to live with him. I am willing to wait at home for the long stretches when he can’t be there, to keep his life running for him outside of his work so that he can focus on keeping himself and those around him safe. I am willing to be a single parent when I need to be and a co-parent when I can be. Most of all I am willing to turn these modes on and off in the blink of an eye and never utter a complaint about it.

So yes, old co-worker of mine, I am really married. Just as much as I will be married when he deploys, when he’s out in the field and when he’s working late nights and weekends. Military spouses may have a different norm to their marriages but we are no less married than anyone else.

In fact I would argue the complete opposite…


3 thoughts on “Did You Really Just Ask Me That?”

  1. Wow. Just when I thought I’d heard just about every story about stupid/insensitive/cruel questions…then somebody out there hits a new low.

    You keep strong, Alison. Let it roll off your back, and know that you’re better than that.

  2. This is great. I’m reposting this to facebook. My husband is in the US Air Force and he just deployed a week ago for our first deployment. When he was stationed here (4 hrs away from our hometown) and I was still home I got that comment a lot. People don’t realise that not living together at the moment does not mean that we aren’t married. Thank you for such a well written post

  3. Interesting post. Recently, my husband went into a three week course and one of the COs asked the group if anyone was married. Then he said, for the next three weeks, consider yourself divorced.

    I’m sure he didn’t mean it literally. He didn’t even mean it in a bad way. He was just making a point of how much studying they would do. Because of that, I wasn’t offended by it…

    At the same time, if divorce rates are so high in the military…maybe it’s because people are throwing that word around so carelessly. When our husbands leave us or have extra duties to perform, that’s when they need their marriage the most. That’s when they need us to be there for those few short hours in the middle of the night. We’re there only outlet and source of peace during those times.

    A marriage is constant.

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