The Military Spouse’s Guide to Embracing the Suck

Life can be sucky sometimes. But don't worry there are ways to keep plugging along embracing life to the fullest!

I was looking back at my content. It has been a while since I have written something specific to being a military wife. I think it’s because our situation is so stagnant right now I didn’t know what else to write about- no PCS’s in the works, no deployments, no anything. And I have already written about most of my other Army Experiences. We know we are leaving Benning in the next few months, but we don’t know when and we don’t know where, but we know things are a changing! But until they tell us we are just hanging out, waiting, in a holding pattern.

Also I have been focusing on writing some guest posts for military specific blogs so a lot of my ideas went there! But as we get more pieces of the plan, not all of it has been great, and some of it down right sucks! When I talk to friends outside the military, the phrase I am greeted by over and over is, “that sucks!” Whether it’s in response to I haven’t talked to my spouse all week, he is in the field; we can’t make a plan for more than a week or two out; deployments, or whatever! I am reminded as a good military spouses and soldiers, we are supposed to suck it up and embrace the suck.

Embracing the Suck, I think this is one of my least favorite phrases associated with the Army. The phrase itself sucks, if I do say so myself! Why does Army, or any military life for that matter, have to be so negative that we need to saying just convince people that its ok it’s negative. Why aren’t we working on making it more positive?  Well first, change requires that the system wants to be changed, or enough people call for change. Well since neither of those two things have happened yet, we need to find ways to embrace the suck, get better at waiting, and not just survive military life, but truly thrive!

So here are my tips on how to embrace the suck, Military Spouse Style, so that it doesn’t have to suck anymore, because none of us deserve to live a life full of suck, we deserve the life we want- full, vibrant, and beautiful!

Embrace the suck by making the most of every situation.

While we maybe in an awful, undesirably long holding pattern, I am grateful that at least my husband is home with me. As we all know in military life, this is not always the case. Over the spring and summer, my husband was gone in the field 12 out of 14 weeks. But for now we are together and that is enough!

Knowing that its ok for you to think it sucks.

Just because you are supposed to embrace the suck doesn’t mean it doesn’t actually suck. In fact, it does often just as much for our service member spouses as it does for us! In my current situation, so many of my friends are sending or have already sent their spouses to Ranger School! While my hubby didn’t get to go to ranger school (read his injury prevented it – although he isn’t torn up about it!) I have watched so many of my friends and clients face this. Embracing the suck doesn’t mean ignoring or denying the suck! It sucks and its ok to say so!

Lean in all the way. 

If you know that you can make the suck go away faster by working harder and getting it done, then work as hard as you can and get it done. Obviously this doesn’t work for everyone – deployments don’t get cut short if you work extra hard, no matter how early you start prepping for that PCS the date won’t get moved up (ok well it might, but not just because you are all set!). But sometimes it does – like when it comes to unpacking after the PCS. Unpacking can definitely suck especially if your furniture doesn’t fit like you want or you don’t have enough curtains for this house! If you just stay focused you can get done quicker!

Find a friend

Embracing the suck requires a team effort! We can’t do it on our own. Some might argue with me on this point but I have written several posts about the importance of community and making friends. To me it is Mission Critical to have a few good friends you can really rely on to be there for you! As much as we rely on our spouse to help us get through these sucky periods, they are not always there – because mission comes first. Besides who else shows up with wine and chocolate after those kind of days!

So you see, it’s possible to Embrace the suck! It takes time and its ok to throw ourselves a pity party! But after that we can put our big girl panties on and trudge alone! If you are struggling to trudge on check out my 15 Healthy Coping skills here!

How do you embrace the suck?

Life can be sucky sometimes. But don't worry there are ways to keep plugging along embracing life to the fullest!

14 thoughts on “The Military Spouse’s Guide to Embracing the Suck

  1. Embrace the suck! Ha! I had a trainer that used to say that all the time. I don’t think I’ve heard my husband say that and he’s army… Anyway, yes sometimes you just gotta say “this sucks” and then turn around to find a new perspective.
    Finding a friend is very important. I think it’s vital to the success of your marriage, even!

    1. Absolutely! When my husband was training all summer he spent about 12 out of 16 weeks in the field and he said it a lot! And at the same time I was in a new state with no friends! We all had to embrace the suck.

  2. Such a positive outlook on a hard life. I don’t know how you military wives do it. I complain when my husband isn’t home even one night! Keep it up!

    1. Betty, I do it because I have to, because I love my husband and normally life isn’t so bad! There are just plenty of times that do suck! But I wouldn’t trade it! I complain when he is gone too! But positivity is key!

  3. The suck sure sucks!! My boyfriend is active duty Army working for the reserves. He was gone most of the last summer helping various other units with their annual training. That was bad enough, but I couldn’t image what you go through. Thank you for everything you do and thank your husband for his service!

    1. Thanks Amy! I know all about those long separations! And we have another one coming but the brought side is I get to spend lots of good time with my parents, which I haven’t done since I was 17!

      1. That’s a great way to look at it. Enjoy your time with your parents and hopefully, the hubby’s time away will fly by and he’ll return home safe and sound!

  4. This is such a great post and I’m sure it will be helpful to countless women! I grew up in a military family (but didn’t marry into one) so I dealt with a lot of this from a child’s perspective. Now that I’m older, I realize how incredibly strong my mom was to have gone through all that she did.

    1. I did not grow up in a military family, but that has been something I have heard from many military kids as they grew into adults. But yes children are also very affected by military life!

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