I have been a military wife for quite a while now. Clay has served this country in CONUS (Continental United States), OCONUS (Outside the Continental United States), and has deployed several times on combat tours. As a military wife I have tried to educate myself on the Army. I took all of the AFTB (Army Family Team Building) courses offered, including becoming an AFTB Instructor. I also became CARE (Casualty Assistance Relief Everywhere) team qualified. I submerged myself in reading material, attended every class offered, attended the numerous briefings, watched the videos, but nothing could ever prepare me for PTSD.
Hannah Conway contacted me and asked me to review a copy of her book, The Wounded Warrior’s Wife. I was excited to not only read her book, but, honestly, I was equally thrilled to know another wife who understood what I was going through. As much as Clay does quite well most of the time, he does suffer from PTSD. It also hasn’t always been so easy for him. For many years of our marriage, after his first deployment to Iraq and then his second, his PTSD struggles were very difficult! Through his incontestable faith in Christ, his struggles have gotten better.
In her book, Hannah shares about being a newlywed but living worlds apart from her husband. I know from experience what this is like because of deployments and military separations. As the story unfolds, we see how much this young spouse needs her husband NOW. However, the Army doesn’t work that way and, unfortunately, “now” means the service member must request leave.
As we girls plan our wedding, we have this picture perfect idea. We get lost in our “Prince Charming mentality.” We believe our husbands to be this knight in shining armor riding his valiant steed coming to save us, woo us, adore us, and shower us with flowers, butterflies and love. When a woman marries a military man, we’re actually marrying into the military. That knight in shining armor is more like a knight with dirty boots who works long hours and is gone for long periods of time, sometimes more than year. Instead of having thoughts of Prince Charming, we pray he comes back home alive.
Military marriage is not easy. Your marriage is constantly being tested through deployments, military separations, TDY’s, late work hours, training exercises, weekend duties and the list goes on. In order for military life to work, a spouse must be equipped with heaping amounts of grace and even greater amounts of patience. I love that Hannah doesn’t shy away from the hard parts of military marriage, but she addresses it with truth and grace.
PTSD affects many of our military. About 30 percent of the men and women who have spent time in war zones experience PTSD. An additional 20 to 25 percent have had partial PTSD at some point in their lives. More than half of all male Vietnam veterans and almost half of all female Vietnam veterans have experienced “clinically serious stress reaction symptoms.” PTSD has also been detected among veterans of other wars. Estimates of PTSD from the Gulf War are as high as 10%. Estimates from the war in Afghanistan are between 6 and 11%. Current estimates of PTSD in military personnel who served in Iraq range from 12% to 20%.
I am thankful that Hannah’s story is bringing awareness to the military life and to PTSD. I think this book could be a valuable resource to those who are new to the military or really anyone who works with military or Veterans. This may be a wonderful book to hand out to spouses in the deployment briefings, Newcomers briefings, Family Readiness Groups, and even for Chaplains to have on-hand.
Thank you Hannah for allowing me to review your book, I am truly blessed by it! You can get a copy by clicking the link below: