“You Signed Up For This”

Various links on this website have the possibility of compensating us. Check out our Disclosures for more information.

This is probably the ugliest phrase that you can tell a military spouse. There are times that these words are said as a joke or simply naiveness. Then, there are instances where a person’s intentions are malicious. These five words feel like a punch to the gut every time I hear them.

I grew up a military brat. My Dad was home most of my teenage years which helped ease the pain. I always said that I would never marry a man in the military. Sure, I dated quite a few men in the military. It was kind of unavoidable living in a military town. The options were to date somebody who did not have their priorties in line or somebody in the military. I dated my fair share of both categories but, never expected to actually fall in love, get married, and have a child with a service member.
The truth is, I knew it would be difficult. My husband is gone frequently. That by itself is hard enough but, if I lacked trust, I would not have a marriage. Typically, if you are insecure and do not know how to trust your spouse, the military lifestyle will not work for you.


I quickly learned that being a wife to somebody in the military and being a child of a service member is completely different. However, when somebody discovers I was a military brat first, I am quickly told that “you knew what you were getting into.” There is no doubt in my mind that that phrase is the second worst phrase to say to a military spouse.



The truth of the matter is, I married my husband because I love him and could not imagine my life without him. I support his decision to be in the military because I love him. I follow him around the country because I want to help him live his dreams. I encourage him to do back to back sea tours because that is what he wants. I give him my support to go to a submarine that is gone 320 days out of the year because, I want him to be able to to achieve the reason he joined the military, to see the world.


I do all of these things out of love and will continue to do so but, I never imagined what it would require. I did not think that some days I would see my husband only two hours out of the day. I did not think that his rare days off would be taken away because somebody else screwed up. I did not know that life falls apart when he deploys. I struggle with not being able to say when he comes back from his deployments. I cannot say how long I have not heard from him because it is a matter of his safety. I go weeks without hearing from him. Our only form of communication are emails that are read by somebody else first. I did not expect for deployments to get extended. There is nothing like being in single digits of a countdown and then being told to add days to that number. It is heart-wrenching. Let’s not forget that when he is home, every three to four days I do not see him for 34 to 42 hours. Then, he turns around and goes back to work the next day.


I did not sign up for this, my husband did. He signed up to serve and protect his country. Although he signed up for it, I keep things together while he is gone. I deal with my Dad being in the ICU, finding out I have endometriosis and have to have surgery, that my pregnancy is starting to go wonky, and so many other things. I try to make sure my husband thinks I have things under control because him feeling helpless does not help him. I will always love and support my husband but, be careful using that phrase. After all, it is a false and hurtful statement. Please do not tell me I signed up for this, because I did not.

Side note: Being married to a service member can be hard and I highly recommend reading this book, The 5 Love Languages Military Edition: The Secret to Love That Lasts, if things are difficult. After all, the branch of service your spouse is in always has the last laugh.