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Shining Light on Life After War: A Military Spouse's Perspective

It's been an incredible 23 years since we first crossed paths. I was a wide-eyed 16-year-old, oblivious to the journey that awaited us. For me, it has been a profound experience witnessing how a person can overcome adversity, much like you, Joe. We've weathered our own personal crises and conflicts, but they pale in comparison to what you've seen and endured.

From the Homefront, I've had the privilege of glimpsing the war through your eyes, and it reveals a harsh reality. The evil you encountered occasionally casts its chilling, empty, and numbing shadow. These are not the same eyes I beheld when I was a young girl; back then, they radiated hope and sparkled with the promise of completeness when we were together. They were eyes brimming with life and happiness.

I'm attempting to provide a window into my soul to convey how I perceive life after war. Over the past eight years, your light doesn't seem as dim; you've actively sought to dispel the lies about your worth, meaning, and purpose, and I've taken notice. The fight inside of you is the fight I quietly take to Lord. Its hard to find the words to define my view, but I've observed your yearning for our family to spring back to life and your unwavering commitment to your role and duty as a father, enduring the seasons of the wilderness. I want others to understand that bearing one's soul requires the participation of both partners. There will be moments when one has to surrender to the other, but I believe that these moments create the transparency and openness needed to rebuild trust.

So, what does shining a light on life after war look like? It varies depending on where you are in your journey. Today, for us, it means engaging in intentional conversations, allowing space for growth, seeking support, and reaffirming our faith in God and each other, all of which enable us to weave our stories together into a unified tapestry.

For instance, we openly discuss his experiences during deployments, and I share my own with the kids. This process involves reconfiguring our lives as a single unit, fostering healthy dependency built on trust and shared beliefs.

Here are some questions you can ask yourselves or discuss together:

  • Was there a significant time or person that greatly influenced and supported you during deployments?

  • Before the war _____ beliefs mattered to me?

  • What I do I feel like I have lost about myself because of combat?

  • What are the new beliefs I have about myself because of war, or other trauma?

  • What does compassion, encouragement and support look like for me?

  • How can I demonstrate that to myself?

  • I envision myself to be?

  • The new version of myself feel like what?

  • What is one thing you can share with your spouse about your deployments?

  • How would you support a friend who feels like no one else understands them, now say that to yourself and how can you communicate that to your spouse?

  • If you had to use one word to describe your military experience, what would it be? (For example, "adventurous.")

For couples:

  • Build a timeline for the past 10-20 years with markers on pivotal points that you both remember.

  • Set aside time for intentional conversations over each of these markers.

  • Share why each moment was memorable, what you learned from it, and how it has impacted you.

  • Ask additional open-ended questions and ensure you are fully present for each other.

Life after war is an ongoing journey, and shining a light on it means recognizing the importance of understanding and supporting each other as we navigate this path together.

To join us in sharing some of your memories, experiences, perspectives or stories check out the info below.

-Emma Martin


In October we launching : "Shining Light on Life After War: Sharing Memories, Perspectives, and Experiences" campaign and would love to have you join us. Your stories will be shared on social media and our Podcast.

All military veterans, their spouses, and their children to join us in shedding light on the memories, perspectives, and experiences of life after the Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

* Highlight some experiences as a spouse or children and how they've supported their veterans that has strengthened the resilience within your family, or other military families.

* Share about finding purpose outside the military career, and how certain aspects were transferable into your next phase of life.

*Share about what and who helped you during challenging seasons of your military career.

* Highlight Certain values and thoughts you believed about the military before war and now how those perspectives may have shifted.

* Share an encouraging message for someone who may be struggling through whether they believed their choice to serve our country had purpose.

Contact Emma Martin at (910) 973-3822 or

Here are some of episodes on our Podcast

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