When searching for a book about military life, who better to turn to than a fellow military spouse? You know, a trusted author who understands this unique lifestyle, and has found the words to convey a meaningful message. Sometimes you just want to get lost in a book, and if you happen to gain insight into military life, all the better. Let this military spouse reading list get you started.
Here are 5 books written by military spouses, each offering a fresh perspective on a slice of military life.
5 Books for Your Military Spouse Reading List
15 Years of War by Kristine Schellhaas, tells her story as a wife of a United States Marine and how living against the backdrop of war affected her family. Schellhaas describes her first encounters with military life as a young bride – navigating base, facing deployments and struggling to find her identity as a military spouse. Schellhaas leaned heavily on military spouse support network during deployments and stepped up to lead and make positive changes on base.
Then, experiencing unimaginable devastation, Schellhaas rises above her grief to give back to the military community. Her advocacy efforts were borne out of compassion for fellow military spouses. It doesn’t get any more “real life” than this book. The ups and downs of military life- it’s all here in beautiful detail.
Sacred Spaces by Corie Weathers details her week-long trip-of-a-lifetime to Afghanistan as part of the opportunities presented by winning the Military Spouse of the Year. As a correspondent, Weathers talks with deployed service members and spends time in the same location where her Army Chaplain husband had witnessed death during a deployment. Most military spouses never get the opportunity to experience even a sliver of deployment from the service member’s perspective. This trip offered Weathers this chance, and it changed her marriage for the better.
She acknowledges that in military marriages, many times husbands and wives face the greatest obstacles of their lives while separated by thousands of miles. Weathers has a deep faith in God and vows to bring purpose out of her pain by sharing with others. A licensed counselor herself, Weathers focuses on strengthening military marriages, and this book doubles as a session with a professional for the reader.
No Man’s War by Angela Ricketts is a self-described irreverent memoir of an Army wife. Do you want the truth? You might not be able to handle the truth. We’re serious here. She holds nothing back and confesses to sometimes treating her fellow military spouses poorly because of displaced anger and bitterness over her husband’s seven deployments.
Ricketts writes extensively of the secret sisterhood of Army wives, who help each other through times of grief and sometimes drive each other crazy. Ricketts drives home the point that military spouses have a responsibility to take care of each other. This page turner offers plenty of shock value and offers a glimpse of the darker side of the military subculture.
Finding Joy: The Year Apart that Made Me a Better Wife by Hope N. Griffin details a grueling deployment she endured as an Army spouse. A woman of faith, Griffin weaves the stories of many Bible characters throughout her book including Lazarus, Ruth, Elijah, and Job, with special focus on Esther, drawing parallels to her own experiences. Griffin describes the reality of everyday exhaustion and loneliness as a military mom enduring a deployment. In hindsight, she can see how God used the pain of deployment to shape her marriage and her faith. Griffin encourages readers to speak up, find a supportive community, and remember that God is in control.
Dinner with the Smiley’s by Sarah Smiley describes what might be one of the best ideas around for coping with deployment. All military spouses how lonely it is seeing that empty chair at the dinner table each night while waiting for their service member to return. Smiley decided to invite a different guest to dinner each week of her husband’s deployment, offering her children an opportunity to engage and interact with all sorts of people throughout the year. Filling her husband’s chair with interesting dinner guests brought energy, laughter, and interesting stories into her home while filling the empty void. Brilliant!
Military spouse life is hard. We all want to feel a connection, and to feel like we aren’t alone in this lifestyle. These 5 books, all written by military spouses just like you, reflect what life is like for us, how to cope, and things we can do to make the most out of our unique experiences.
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