To Tell or Not To Tell – That is the Question!


I feel rejuvenated after a fun-family loaded long holiday weekend, filled with good food, BBQ’s, homemade sangria, and of course some sale shopping too. It’s always a blessing to be surrounded by family and I appreciate every moment – even when they make me feel like I just want to pull out my hairs.

This weekend I also went to visit my sister-in-law who has been home sick with meningitis. Since my return from our family vacation about 3 weeks ago she was hospitalized for over a week and transferred twice to other hospitals before doctors were able to finally diagnose here. Feeling helpless, it was a scary time for the family. She is a young, vibrant, healthy, and always active woman. You would never think her health would fail her. After countless medical tests and numerous specialists, our prayers were finally answered. Thankfully, doctors were able to diagnose, provide appropriate medication, and discharge her from the hospital. She is now home and slowly recuperating.

When I was first told of my sister-in-laws’ hospitalization, my husband’s oldest sister contacted me. She, being the protective older sister, mentioned she hadn’t told my husband so he would not worry. I completely understood where she was coming from. I also did not want him to worry about anything more than what he ‘needs’ handle while on deployment. So here I found myself – stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do I tell him or not?

I was expecting a call from my husband that day and all I could think is – “what if he asks about his family or his little sister?” I don’t want to lie – I never keep anything serious like this from my husband. I always tell him everything. (Ugh!) What do I do? Again, like my sister-in-law said, I didn’t want him to worry.

 After much consideration, and contemplating my options, in the end, I went with my gut feeling. I told him that his little sister was in the hospital but eliminated the extra details, such as they didn’t know what was wrong the first few days and that she had all kinds of specialists seeing her. I waited until she was properly diagnosed and treated to finally fill him in on all the specifics of her condition.

I know this is not going to be the first and last time I’m confronted with this situation in which I must battle in my mind: to tell or not to tell? Communication is always a huge factor in relationships – but even more so when there is thousands and thousands of miles between you.

I try my best to follow the tips about phone calls with your deployed spouse: try to be positive, try to not only speak of the frustrations but how you resolved the issue and to let him know that you still need him – but all I can promise is to be me and to be honest and as most wives – military or not, I don’t intend on lying to my husband either – I can only follow my intuition on deciding how to inform him about the circumstances on the homefront.

Naturally, if I’m worried, sad, or scared – I obviously want my other half to know and feel it with me – and I’m sure my husband wants to be there for me too. He is fully aware of what I’m dealing with here on the homefront – the bills, the food, the home, the cars, THE KIDS, the good, the bad, and the ugly and he wants to part of it. However, I too am fully aware of how full his hands are and my husband needs to maintain his focus on his current deployment – I want him to! His role for our country surpasses any appointment I need to make or car that needs to get fixed! I don’t want my husband to be anxious unnecessarily about the issues happening on the homefront and just as he protects my freedom I will do my best in protecting him from burning into a crisp from emotional overload.

3 Responses

  1. Ian always told me to remember 1) he’s a professional, 2) he’s an adult, and 3) he knows what he’s doing.

    Keeping things from him to “protect” him would have bothered him because it would have assumed he wasn’t grown-up enough to handle whatever it was.

    “I know how to separate something that’s bothering me from my job,” he said.

    It’s probably a case-by-case basis kind of thing. Like, if you know your husband is about to go on a touchy mission, news that might bug him can probably wait until he comes back. But otherwise, the less we tell people when they’re deployed, the less we’re able to maintain whatever semblance of a “normal “relationship we hope to continue when we’re together again.

    • Thanks for coming to my blog!

      You’re right on point – it is a case-by-case basis!

      It is also a person-by-person basis too, because some individuals are not able to maintain physical and emotionally stability to function in a stressful environment if they are having anxiety (for example) of some sort about a situation that they cannot manage at the moment. And most military wives know their husband well enough to know his limitations and what he can and cannot handle – just as you did.

      I’m glad that you and your husband were able to maintain positive communication throughout deployments. It is definitely a blessing.

      My husband and I always (or at least for the most part) try to maintain healthy and positive communication as well – be it through a deployment or not. I haven’t kept anything from him and have ho intentions to do so – like I said in my blog above – I am only careful in the way I inform him and choose my words wisely.

      Thanks for the thought-provoking comment! 🙂

  2. I just found your blog, and I can absolutely relate to this! I became very sick during my husbands last deployment and struggled day in and day out with if I should tell him, how much to tell him, and how to tell him. “Hey babe, just wanted to tell you that I might have a brain tumor” doesn’t make a good opening line to an e-mail, does it? In the end, I told him that I was sick, and that I was working with the doctors to get everything taken care of. I tried not to down play the severity, but I also make sure not to alarm him. At the end of the day, distractions can be deadly, and I did not want to be that distraction. Not everyone agreed with my decision, (one wife even had her husband tell mine that things were much worse than I was letting on), but at the end of the day, my husband, and everyone he was with, came home safely. I never kept anything from him, and I never will, but I also chose my words VERY carefully.

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