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Expressing emotion is OK
Military spouse
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Taking walks down memory lane is sometimes painful when your fondest memories are of a man who is currently deployed to Iraq. The wedding photos I planned to frame and hang on my bedroom walls two months ago are still sitting in their box. And I’m still nervously glancing at them from across the room, knowing that I’ll cry the minute I start to look through them.
Although many military spouses put on a good face of strong, brave, emotionless support of their deployed husband or wife and seem to be somehow impervious to the little things that rattle the rest of us, a face is exactly what it is. The longer my husband is deployed, the more I find myself trying to learn and perfect my own brave façade. The act is helpful when it comes to things like sending off care packages filled with his favorite candy or telling a friend the romantic story of when he proposed to me. It’s not helpful, however, when actually talking with my soldier.
About two weeks into my tough-guy act, my husband started to notice. He didn’t say anything about it directly, but he noticed that I stopped paying as much attention when we were having conversations. The conversations were shorter and filled with silences, where I normally would be telling him how desperately I missed him and how much I wanted him home. Even if the tough-guy act was convincing enough to persuade those around me that I was getting along fine (although I’m not sure it was), my husband knew better.
I’ve seen this in a lot of husband-wife relationships, both military and not, where you try to downplay the love you share in order to better cope with the pain. It’s that numbing process. But after my two weeks down that path, I’ve decided I’d rather feel and express both love and pain than nothing at all.

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