Can I make a confession? Before I started my own blog, I very rarely read any military spouse blogs. But, now that I am at least in part a milspouse blogger myself, I am reading them almost every day as I connect and learn from fellow bloggers.
I recently read a few articles about “What Not to Say to a Military Spouse”. And before I even take one step further into this post, let me stop now and say that what follows is in no way meant to bash or put down these posts. In fact, many of the points that they made were absolutely valid and I found myself nodding my head in agreement.
Some of the things people say in these “What Not to Say to a Military Spouse” pieces are just plain rude and inappropriate. For example, my jaw absolutely dropped when I read that someone (immediately after saying goodbye to her husband at the airport) was asked by a complete stranger “Aren’t you afraid he’s going to die?”. Like for real people?!? To me, that’s right up there with anyone who comments on how big a pregnant ladies belly is! You just don’t do it. And for the record, yes, we are afraid he’s going to die. We think about that every single day that they’re gone. We really don’t need to be reminded of it.
Now, here’s the part where I apparently tend to disagree with a lot of other military spouses. I don’t have this big list of things people say that annoy me. And here’s why: because I would rather they say something than not say anything.
When people outside of the military ask a question, even if it’s a bit uninformed, I appreciate that they are taking the time to acknowledge what our family is going through. And, it’s a great opportunity to educate them about what military life is actually like. Maybe they will get a glimpse of how hard this life really is and have more appreciation and gratitude towards those serving and the sacrifices they and their families make.
So the next time someone asks us a question that starts to rub us the wrong way, can we just do this? Can we just not be so easily offended? Ecclesiastes 7:21 says “Do not take to heart all the things people say…” (ESV). This could be applied to so many situations in our society today.
But readers, we’re going to be better and do better. Instead of looking for the offense, let’s look for the opportunity.
Look for the opportunity to educate, the opportunity to show them what our life is really like, the opportunity for them to grow in gratitude. Don’t be easily offended. And don’t miss the opportunity.