Dear All Perspective Military Wives/Girlfriends/Significant Others,
Too often I hear complaints from current military spouses about the nature of being a military spouse. It is such things as we don't make enough money, they are gone all the time, he likes his job more than he likes me...yadda yadda yadda. I just want to take the time to warn all wives of perspective troops about the nature of the beast that is being a military spouse. I think this will also educate civilians about the military lifestyle in general. I am also going to give a little advise at the end to help those who do decide that the military life is worth the sacrifice.
1. Be prepared to be the 2nd priority in your spouses life. The military, no matter what branch, will always be number 1.
2. You will be uprooted and moved. That is just the way it is. Make friends then leave. Thank goodness for email.
3. Long hours. It is normal for military personnel to put in 12 hour shifts. It is also normal for them to have weekend duty. The best way to combat the loneliness is to make some friends.
4. We don't get paid enough. Yeah we don't. Learn to budget. Do you really NEED that new Wii or would you rather your kids eat for 2 weeks?
5. In all likelihood your spouse WILL be deployed at some point. Whether this is a TDY (temp duty), an actual deployment or some other special duty, there are times that they will be away.
6. Due to deployments your spouse will miss holidays and birthdays.
7. There is a good chance your spouse will go to the desert, get sent downrange, or whatever you want to call it.
8. Due to duty hours, your spouse may miss events at the house such as birthday parties.
9. If your spouse goes downrange there is a good chance that they could be shot at.
10. Shit rolls downhill and sometimes uphill. Chain of command. High rank dumps on low rank. Low rank does something stupid and gets high rank in trouble with higher rank.
11. Spouses at one time or another will work a crappy shift, ie 3pm-11pm or 11pm-7am.
12. Your spouse may not be able to tell you what happened at work.
13. Your spouse may be in a bad mood and not be able to tell you why.
How to deal with these obstacles:
1. Make friends. When you arrive at your new duty station, don't sit in your house all day and be woe is me, I don't have any friends. Go to the functions that the Squadron, Unit, whatevers wives have going on. Not only is it an excuse to get out of the house, but you will meet women with similar issues as yourself.
2. Go with the flow. When hubby comes home on Friday and says "I have to work all weekend", thus ruining your "plans" take it in stride and make alternate plans that do not involve the hubby, even if it is just taking the kids out to the park or indoor play area, heck, you might even make new friends while your out.
3. Don't go shopping at the Commissary on a Friday or a payday. You will be rushed and crowded because of the sheer amount of other people shopping. Also have a list, stick to the list. This will help you make better shopping choices and hopefully save you money.
4. Don't take out your frustrations about things that your hubby has no control over out on him. If your "plans" get ruined, it isn't going to help him to have you all bitching and crying about things that he can't help. It just makes him feel like crap. This can affect his work and could be dangerous.
5. Accept the fact that your spouse (I am gonna generally go with he when I talk because it is more convenient) works in a dangerous environment. Even if he isn't directly working with something that can go BOOM he could get smashed, smooshed, run over, or otherwise hurt if he isn't paying attention to what is going on around him. Don't add to his distractions at work. This means, don't call him every five min, don't text him every 5 min, don't email him 5 million times a day, let him do his job.
6. Learn military lingo. You are going to totally be lost if you don't learn some acronyms. If you don't know what MPF is, ask.
7. When you PCS (get stationed elsewhere), take the time to learn about the new location that you are going to. Help with the moving plans and find out about the things that your spouse is otherwise not interested in, like schools, what to do with the pets, and the fun things that are going to be available near the new duty station to do.
8. Get a hobby. Gossiping does not count as a hobby, although some military wives could go pro if it was a sport.
9. Learn how to mow the lawn. Ok, I have never had to actually put this knowledge into practice because A) my husband has been gone during the winter and B) because I have always had a kick ass neighbor who would help me out. BUT! I do know how to do it in theory.
10. Thank God for all the blessings you do have in your life. Just remember, in the past other military wives had to communicate with their husbands who were gone by letters, you know letters that were delivered by actual post men. We now have the Internet, which means email, web cams, blogs. We also have phones, cell phones and calling cards. We have free health care. We have opportunities that a lot of others do not have, such as traveling. We get to meet some of the coolest people on Earth, such as other military spouses. We also get to say, we are military spouses and our husband/wives have really important jobs.