Fifth is Fulla. She too is a virgin, and goes around with her hair flowing free and has a gold band around her head. She carries Frigg’s casket and looks after her footwear and shares her secrets.


Psst! Would you like to know a secret? Well it’s not really a secret but the army is full of secrets. From the highest level secrets that affect national security to the presents bought at Yule and all the varying degrees of secrets in between. Infidelities, feelings kept hidden and daily happenings. Everyone has secrets and to some extent they are probably necessary, however the issue of secrets, of keeping them and of sharing them is very complex.


Many happenings and feelings become secrets during deployments. Soldiers omit details of their lives in order to protect their loved ones and their loved ones pretty much do the same. That is on the innocent side of the coin. Keeping things secret because you love someone and want to protect them. However on the flip side is the nasty kind of secret keeping that eventually breaks up families. Infidelity is high in the army and a lot of it happens during deployments when people are far away from each other. Intellectually I can understand the psychology behind infidelity, especially within the context of the deployment cycle. Hell, the average long distance relationship is a risk when it comes to that because people detach themselves a little bit to get through the separation, however when it comes to deployment, things that would have made you crumble before… well you just become hardened to it. Add those two factors together and intellectually I can understand why it occurs, however on every other level I don’t understand it one bit. It just seems so foolish.


Maybe these infidelities arise because of secrets in the marriage, people not talking about things that are bugging them and then eventually losing that connection with their spouse? Maybe instead of secrets, honesty is needed?


However this is when you come across one of the ‘rules’ of the army spouse – Don’t tell your spouse anything that will cause them to worry and be distracted while deployed – after all, you want him to come back, don’t you?


All the deployment literature and all the times when I have discussed deployments with other wives all pretty much broadcast this message loud and clear and wives that don’t do that and who admit that everything isn’t all hunky dory and talk about anything other than subjects that would be at home with Stepford wives, are just not doing the best by their soldier. Apparently…


Early on in the deployment, my husband told me that he preferred it when I told him stuff that was bugging me and how I was feeling simply because it kept him connected. He still felt close to me, he was still there for me as a husband.

 Conversely, army literature makes a big deal of keeping your spouse involved and up to date with your children because the soldier still needs to feel as though he is a part of his child’s life. Surely the same principle must apply with wives and marriage then?


One thing that I won’t keep a secret from my husband is if another male is making advances or if I socialize with men, simply because a lot of rumours fly around during deployments too and I don’t want him to hear some rumour that has been altered so much that ‘Heath’s wife went for a coffee with a male colleague at work who happened to be a bit flirtatious with her’ to ‘Heath’s wife is having illicit meetings with other men who seem really interested in her and so ergo she is having an affair!’ If I happen to go for a coffee with a work colleague who then starts to be flirtatious with me, I will tell my husband, simply so if any distorted rumours reach him, he will know what they are actually referring to. I also tend to only socialize with females in order to cut down rumours and give my husband more piece of mind.


Fulla shares Frigg’s secrets, presumably secrets that she cannot tell her husband and this brings up another side of the secrets coin. There are things that probably cannot be talked about with the husband for a long time simply because they are too raw and no matter how close a relationship is, sometimes you can only really offload on a friend. However in this there needs to be a measure of caution, as the Havamal warns us:


‘One may know, a second should not,

The whole world knows, if three know.’


Sometimes we may need to keep things about our soldier or ourselves secret in order to protect our soldier or his promotion chances. I think this is a necessary and normal thing to do. We all want the best for those that we love and some things about a person (religion, sexuality, hobbies etc), despite laws to the contrary, can and do spoil promotion prospects. This is something that definitely should be discussed with your husband – especially when it comes to the matter of religion. Most of the army is some form of Christian and not all of those Christians are accepting of other faiths, especially not non-Abramaic faiths such as ours. At some postings and with some COs, being open about your faith could be a hindrance to the career soldier. If your husband wants to climb the promotional ladder, he may have to consider his personal beliefs on keeping his religion a secret in order to be successful. But of course, it’s not just about him – that would be a decision that the wife would have to live with too and naturally her personal beliefs on the matter should also be taken into account before a course of action is decided on.


To put it simply, there are no guidelines out there to help us really when it comes to the matter of keeping secrets, each secret and the decision to keep it is down to us as individuals and often based on our individual interpretation of honour and doing right by your family and community.