A Soldier Honors His Wife on SpouseBUZZ

Enduring Freedom

Over the years, we’ve received numerous comments and emails from service members who say they read SpouseBUZZ to get a sense of what their spouses are going through on the homefront. We’ve featured two guest posts here on SpouseBUZZ submitted by soldiers. One was by none other than LTG William Caldwell. Another was from a soldier who shared his side of the reintegration process. Today, we’re featuring another guest post submitted by a soldier. I think it will melt your heart. SpouseBUZZ is a place for military spouses, so naturally our focus is on the homefront. But it’s refreshing to hear firsthand accounts of what our spouses are thinking and feeling.

Did I Finally Get it?

This is my third deployment, nothing big there most, of the guys over here are in the same boat. In this deployment, I have the great misfortune of being a Fobbit and although there are many who want to be a Fobbit, I am not one. This is a mixed blessing though, for it gave me a chance to think over many aspects of my marriage and life with my wife.

Getting home is the sweetest thing in the world to me. It is the bliss of being away from this land of concrete, dust, mud and sun and back home where I belong. Those weeks after the homecoming are incredible. My wife goes out of her way to make things better for me, we are physical, and relearning all the reasons why we got married in the first place. From the moment I leave on deployment, I can think of nothing more than the sweet, tear filled, homecoming in the distant future.

After I have been home for a while, the same old arguments will come up. I always get the same answer from my wife: “I have told you a thousand times”. For the most part, I am a fairly smart man. I can assault an objective with little or no thought, I can execute a hasty TCP in a heartbeat, but when it comes to my wife I am completely lost. I have been told a thousand times? What did I miss? Oh man, I am in trouble now…

Being a Fobbit this deployment has given me ample time to think about this. I might be dense when it comes to how to deal with women, most specifically my wife. I think have stumbled on what I have been told a thousand times. I wish I could say it was from some great illumination or amazing insight but more probably it was just blind luck.

I never thought about her issues with the kids, the house, the bills, or day to day life without the man she chose to be the father of her children. All I could focus on was the pain of being separated from her for extended times, the sheer boredom of combat deployments, injected with the incredible highs of adrenaline. When I got the chance to talk to her, I would complain about the heat, this and that, but not consider the issues she was having at home. I would trivialize them in my own mind because she was at home and that was where I wanted to be. How could it be as bad as being the one deployed? I am not callous but sometimes I am pretty dense.

Somewhere around the middle of this deployment I realized my entire phone conversations with her were not about how I missed her or how great she was doing with the baby and the teenager. No, we were talking about how hot it gets inside of a CHU if the power goes out, how boring it is here and how tired I was. In fact this is how I started every conversation: “Hey, How you doing”, she would ask, to which my response was always “Tired”.

I am supposed to be the strong one; I am supposed to be her support. How self centered of me not to take into consideration the trials and tribulations she has to face every day. I know the reality of daily operations over here, she does not. I know how unlikely it is for a mortar or rocket to hit but she does not. What must be going through her head when I suddenly yell on the phone that I have to go and hang up without so much as an “I love you”? What fears race up her spine at the sudden change in demeanor and attitude of her husband?

Not only is she keeping up the house, the kids, the bills, the cars, the cats, the yard, school work, soccer games, my mom (mom has many health issues), living in a country far from her family, and the horrors of Wal-mart on any given day. She is dealing the ever present threat of the dreaded “Visit” or phone call. My God, what strength she must have. How can I trivialize someone who should be my role model?

It dawned on me, I am not the foundation of our marriage; she is the rock. She is my strength. Through it all, she has been there for me. She listened to me complain and said nothing. She dealt with issues which would bury me, as a matter of course. I can only hope to make it up to her for dealing with such a dense man over these long eight years.

The answer was as plain as the nose on my face and hidden just as well! I have a lot of making up to do when I get home. How on earth does one repay the selflessness of a military spouse? Money cannot buy anything nice enough; words cannot express my gratitude. All I have is my humble thanks.

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About the Author


Andi is married to an active-duty soldier and is the founder and former editor of SpouseBUZZ.

She is the founder of the Annual MilBlog Conference. The MilBlog Conference is the premiere event of the year for military bloggers. President George W. Bush, U.S. Representative Adam Smith, GEN David Petraeus, LTG Mike Oates, LTG William Caldwell, RADM Mark Fox, MG Kevin Bergner, MG David Hogg and The Honorable Pete Geren have addressed previous conferences.

While living in Washington, DC, Andi was the Ambassador to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for Sew Much Comfort, a non-profit organization which makes and delivers, free of charge, special adaptive clothing for wounded service members. Andi has worked with several non-profits to help our wounded heroes and their families. She finds that work to be the most rewarding and meaningful of all.

Andi strives to find humor in the good, bad and ugly of life and is a firm believer that laughter has the ability to cure most ills.

  • Tom

    Thanks for publishing this for me. Marion deserves more credit than I can give her.


    • Andi

      It was our pleasure, Tom. What a beautiful tribute to your wife!

    • DL Sly

      “How on earth does one repay the selflessness of a military spouse?”

      Tom, you just did.

  • Samantha

    Thanks for posting this. It was lovely.

  • Wow. Thank you for not only sharing something that is so private, but also for writing it in a way that burns across the mind indelibly for the rest of us. You’re wife is truly blessed, and it’s plain that you know that you are too.

  • The author claims that “words cannot express [his] gratitude,” yet it seems to me he did a superlative job expressing his thanks to his wife through this piece. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  • d`Arcy

    very beautiful letter to your wife, love is so strong and powerful and beyond words ,

  • Pat

    It brought tears to my eyes. It was so sweet!!

  • What a wonderful article! Thank you for sharing.

  • reasad

    Tissue alert is needed. Thank you for sharing Tom.

  • Definitely a tear-jerker. Thank you for sharing.

  • Brenda

    I love it! It brought tears to my eyes too. Maybe you have acted this way throughout this time, however, she still there for you and you have realized all she does for you and all she means to you and that is great! And you are right, money is not everything, she will be grateful that you show her how much you love her.

  • E.Castillo

    wow! i am speachless. that was beautiful…

  • Appreciative Spouse

    An awesome tribute to your wife, Tom! All the best to you in finding meaningful ways and personal words to share your realizations and gratefulness with your wife. And thank you for your service to your country.
    I think another meaningful tribute to your wife–and so many other military spouses–would be for you to find a way to share your realizations with your deployment comrades. That kind of action, on your part, could potentially & exponentially improve the lives of so many military families. That is my challenge to you. I hope you will think about it and consider what a valuable contribution your sharing could make towards improving the lives of many military families like your own.
    Sometimes men have a far better success rate at communicating with their fellow males than we females could ever achieve in our best form. I believe in you, Tom, as you’ve obviously experienced some type of “divine intervention” to gain the understanding you have today. Godspeed & I wish you God’s protection & safety to return you home to your family’s love.

  • Tom

    Thanks for all the positve feedback, and I have shared this around the battalion, hope it helps.

  • Like it for TIME

    And this is exactly what influenced the “Like it for TIME” effort to have the military family named TIME Magazine’s 2011 Person of the Year. Not to honor the military family, but to recognize them. If it took a soldier this long to recognize the experience of the people at home, imagine what it will take for the rest of the country to see it?

    A beautiful and heartwarming and .absolutely perfect letter. So happy to have read it.

  • Melissa

    the BEST smile I’ve had on my face in weeks. If only they all “got it” like Tom does.