I begin this post with a standing ovation to my heroes in uniform and the men and women serving beside them but carrying the title of “Military Spouse”. I know that both jobs, at times, can be equally difficult and equally rewarding. However, there are certain missteps that no self-respecting military spouse should make. Here they are:
1. Being a military spouse can be very confusing. Yes, it is a lifestyle for your family. But at the end of the day, it is just a job. Your spouse’s job. Yes, it requires long periods of separation, deployments, frequent moves etc. but it is a job. You need to put your grown up undies on and deal with it. If you don’t, it will make you crazy!
2. It is no more appropriate for you to contact his boss directly than it is for him to contact yours. If you are in a social setting or at a social function, it is not okay to talk about your husband’s career with his boss or, for that matter, anyone in his chain of command. Commiserating between spouses is acceptable. Sometimes.
3. Take all that shit off your car. Ditch the ACU purse and the “Proud Army Wife” t-shirt. It’s called opsec. Not advertising. Besides, I haven’t seen anything of that genre that isn’t tacky as hell.
4. “Don’t confuse my rank with your authority” is a myth. You have no rank, you have no authority. Period. Your position as household six does not put you in his official command structure. NEVER NEVER NEVER call your husband’s boss to bitch about anything. Trust me when I say your beloved will thank you for it. All these calls do is cause complications and get your loved ones’ mates thinking he’s whipped and ineffective. “Does your wife make all your decisions?” If you’re calling his chain of command, the answer to that is a hard to disprove “yes”.
5. Support your local family programs. There is strength in numbers and the friendships you will make during your spouse’s career are invaluable. Just like in every situation, these social groups are what you make of it. If you don’t like it, put yourself out there and change it. Use your powers for good!
6. Take time to pursue your own interests and stay your own person. Work if it suits you, get an education, volunteer. Keep your marketable skills sharp. You never know when you might need them. Do not vest yourself so fully in your spouse’s career, that you neglect your own.
7. Manage your money wisely. Be a fully informed partner in your financial future. There are lots of benefits to military life. Familiarize yourself with them and use them to the max!
8. The very best advice I can give you is to treat people the way the way you expect to be treated. Not everyone will be nice to you but you will still like the person looking back at you in the mirror. Also, if you notice that EVERYONE is being a bitch, it’s not them. It’s you.