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10 Things Never To Say To Someone with a Deployed Soldier

I have been through a few deployments myself, and I’m always amazed by some of the comments received.

Through his time in the Army, I’ve heard quite a few and heard many more that have been relayed to me by other Army spouses. So I decided to develop the top ten things you should never say to someone who has a soldier deployed. Ready?

1. I don’t know how you do it.

Well, guess what? In all honesty, I don’t know how I do it either. I just do. Because really, what other choice do I have?

I’m sure this is supposed to be a compliment in some way, but it rarely comes across that way.

2. I could never deal with it if my husband were gone for that long.

Hmmm…how does hearing how someone else can’t deal with it help me to deal with it?

I would never choose to deal with him being gone for so long, either. But it is what this life entails. And the purpose behind it does make it a little easier to handle.

3. Are you scared that something may happen to him while he’s there?

This one has always really perplexed me. Of course, I’m scared. I wouldn’t be human if I weren’t. But being reminded of something that may happen to him doesn’t help me out.

This has always been my biggest fear. Every time the doorbell rings unexpectedly, my heart stops. I’m terrified of answering the door to find two officers in uniform standing on the other side.

4. Do you miss him?

Whenever I was asked this, I just wanted to respond, “Oh, no, definitely not. I like it when he’s gone. It allows me to be all by myself 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Who wouldn’t want that?”

Of course, I miss him. Wouldn’t you miss your husband?

I don’t know a single Army spouse who didn’t miss their soldier when he was gone. When you look back at how much time we have spent apart, it is quite crazy.

5. I know just how you feel. My husband was on a business trip last month for three days, and I just thought I would die.

I realize this is probably a one-up, but are you kidding me?

First, I barely notice now if my husband is only gone for three days. Second, unless his business trip was to a place where everyone is openly carrying a gun in the street trying to kill him and suicide bombers and roadside bombs are prevalent, it’s not remotely close to being the same.

The only thing I may give you on this one is that you know what it’s like to sleep in an empty bed.

There is always the possibility that it is the last day even when he isn’t deployed, and you don’t know that. But standing there and hugging him for what could be the last time is a feeling that is impossible to describe.

6. Do you worry about him cheating on you? Or along the same lines…How can you go without sex for so long?

Well, people, it is a little thing called self-control. That and a love for my husband and respect for my marriage.

Do some people cheat? Sure they do – both here in the states and overseas. But people cheat in civilian marriages too. Being in the military has no bearing on that.

If removing that from your marriage because thousands of miles separate you means you no longer have a marriage, there are much bigger issues. The deployment didn’t make either of you cheat.

7. How can you sleep at night knowing your husband is a murderer? Won’t you be afraid when he comes home?

This one sets me off more than any other. No soldier is a murderer.

Have they had to kill someone? Quite possibly. But there are a great many soldiers who never have. It’s not something they talk about in daily conversation.

Regardless of what they do overseas, it does not make them a murderer. They are in a war zone and following orders. I have never once even thought that I should be afraid of my husband because he is a soldier.

The insinuation that anyone should be is asinine.

8. I’m so sorry your husband had to be deployed. Don’t you hate President (Insert Name)?

My husband joined the military of his own free will AFTER 9/11, knowing full well that he would probably be deployed.

The President may be the one running the show, but both my husband and I knew what we were getting into when he joined. I’m proud of him and his accomplishments.

And I don’t discuss politics or religion with anyone. 🙂

9. If you truly supported your husband, you would be protesting so…he wouldn’t have to deploy again/could be brought home/the war would end.

Really? My definition of support must be much different than the definition of support by these people.

Supporting my husband means supporting him in what he does and what he believes in. It does not mean disrespecting the men and women who volunteered to defend our country and our rights.

If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have the right to protest in the first place. I’m certainly not putting myself in a position where it could be construed as anything other than 100% support for our troops and their families.

10. I can’t believe your husband did this to you. Aren’t you mad at him?

Um, what?! My husband didn’t do anything to me. We made this decision together.

He honors his agreements, and he follows the orders of his superiors. There’s certainly nothing sad or maddening about having a husband who fulfills his commitments.

Don’t feel sorry for me. I’m proud of my husband, and I completely support him.

author avatar
Stacey Abler
Stacey's husband joined the Army in 2003 and was medically retired after four deployments. She enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise around Army life while continuing to support Army spouses and families in their military journey.

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63 Comments

  1. I had one today that I would like to add. Never say, I wish my husband were deployed. Especially from a civilian that has NO idea what it is like to deal with a deployment or think of their spouse being in danger.

  2. I love this. It is very true. I hate the dumb questions and comments people say sometimes. The one where oh my gosh you are so strong, I just don’t know how you do it, gets me EVERYTIME! Of course I am strong, I have to be because if I am not I would be letting my husband down. I do it because I love him and support him in everything he does. Great post!
    -Jodi Gentry

  3. so what are people supposed to say? I can understand 5-10 being completely insensitive and quite frankly rude, but 1-4 seem a little harmless. Most people really do care and appreciate the troops and their families that support them and want to show that support as well. So, my question/comment is, what are the top ten things to say to comfort a military wife?

  4. My favorite I get is…do you get to talk to your hubby…and when I say yes…I get back..well at least you get to talk to him! As if that is suppose to make it all better and replace all the things they get to do with their spouses who are home every night next to them…cause typing on instanst messenger or the occasionally webcam…even comes close to what they get…honestly some people amaze me!

  5. Thank You! That is great, i was just wondering if I´the only one who has to listen to that kind of things everyday. Thanks it helps that there are so much of you out there!
    x Sara

  6. I am a deployed soldier and thank you for your “Top Ten”. I completely agree with what you wrote. My wife is an awesome woman and has supported me through (now) four deployments! We have had challenges but neither of us have cheated on each other. I say that with great pride. Not only does she have to go at it alone while I’m gone but so do both my kids. Its not easy being away from them all this time but we both understood the risks when I signed up. I wanna thank all the spouses for their support, your soldier talks about you a lot to their buddies over here were just doing are job here and waiting to go home to our families. To every one else who supports us in their own ways, Thank You, we appreciate you, too.

  7. Thank you! I am so sick of hearing all of the same questions! I recently got married so I not only got the pity talk about him leaving, I also had to sit and respond to all the questions about why/when/how we got married. It is relieving to know I am not the only one that feels that way. Every day I get asked one of those questions at least once. More often the “do you miss him” question than any other. Or my favorite is when they ask how I am handling it. We all know I am not handling it well, but thank you for shoving it in my face again. The best friends are the ones who know but do everything they can to cheer you up and get you out of the house. They are the ones who understand.

  8. I just found your blog. My husband is currently deployed for the second time and I love your list…I think I’d add a few too! These are my top “don’t” that I have actually recieved:

    Is he safe? (Did Afghanistan/Iraq rhyme with Fiji?!?!)

    Time will fly/it’s gone fast (I’m so glad time goes so quickly for people when their loved one isn’t deployed! Ha.)

    How long is he deployed? Me: 6 months. Response: That’s not too bad (If this is coming from another Army Wife who has been through a 12 or 15 month deployment, acceptable, mostly though it is from non-military women who have NO clue).

    I’m so glad I’ve found your blog. It’s great.

    1. Thanks! I got the whole shorter vs longer deployment thing all the time too since my husband was special ops. It’s annoying!

  9. Having been a military wife for 21 years I can completely agree with this. I used to get so mad at the stupid things people would say about my husband or his job. We did what we had to to get through the deployments. I am proud of my husband and the job he did. And I am proud of my 2 nephews who are in the military. Anyone who cuts down the military and the job they do or their families better be ready to deal with me. We had our tough times but it was also a great 21 years and we wouldn’t trade it for anything. It was a great experience for our children as well. Thank you to all who serve!!

  10. I have three nephews who have all faced deployment. I myself am not a “military wife” but am facing a problem with my youngest nephews wife. My husband (non-military) is a land manager and wildland firefighter. When my niece in law started posting offensive posts on facebook regarding non military women don’t get it and how bad she has it ect….I made the comment that I do get it even though we are non-military. My husband is often gone for more time than the average deployment, fighting fires on a remote mountain with absolutely no form of communication. No cell service, no internet, nothing. I am raising four children on my own, with no family to help. Yet my niece in law continues to make brash and very offensive comments about how us “non-military” wives don’t get it or don’t have a clue. I’ve been married for 20 years and 19 of those years have lived like this. I see my husband on the average of 80 days a year. I was trying to be supportive to her and offer advice and got it thrown back into my face because my husband is not “military”. Why do some military spouses do this and have this “elite” attitude? I obviously support the military as I am from a military family myself, all of my nephews are enlisted and I’m trying to help this girl out. She posts something about how her life sucks, this is so hard, nobody understands about every hour on facebook. Family members have actually blocked her off of their facebook because of her attitude. There has to be something to help her out and get her out of this “better than the rest” attitude.

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