I've chatted with lots of friends about what it means to be a military spouse in today's military culture.
I LOVE being an Army wife, but I do find myself wondering from time to time if my "position" as a spouse would be as relevant had my husband chosen any other profession...if the weight of the responsibility I feel would be as great. While I in no way wear my husband's rank, I fully acknowledge that as his level of responsibility increases, so does mine.
In a space understood by so few, I am grateful to share the weight--the trials and the triumphs--of being a military spouse with a community who understands.
I know there are many who find little identity in being a military spouse and I understand the desire to separate from what can sometimes feel like an all consuming lifestyle. I also know that we all desire a sense of community--a group of people who understand and support each other, a village. I am in no way de-valuing our support systems outside of this life; I am simply highlighting our basic entry argument to a incredible community of support, resources, networking, etc.
Is this real life?
When you marry someone in the military, you're referred to as a dependent. You likely start to forget pertinent information about yourself because you spend so much time learning your spouse's information--his social, rank, unit, and so on. I can't tell you how many times I felt put on the spot when asked my own information after reciting his so many times! Throw in remembering a dozen zip codes and addresses move after move and forget it! It immediately becomes clear that being a military spouse IS a unique experience--and these are just the quirks about our lives that make you chuckle.
Then it gets really real...
Then there's the more serious side of this life. I delivered my first baby at 29 weeks after a five week stay in the hospital while my husband was deployed. He left again when our second was barely five months old. I've spent months with my phone tethered to me because I know the heartbreak of setting it down for a second and missing a call. I've attended memorials, sent care packages, cried and sat in silence with other spouses, expressed and heard frustrations about the difficulty of this life and celebrated with friends as their deployment countdowns withered to just a few more sleeps before daddy comes home.
The best part about connecting with fellow milspouses is that it doesn't require a conversation about rank or units or zip codes (though if you're in a 10 mile radius of my home and we talk more than twice after a new PCS you may be tapped as an emergency contact--I'm kidding...okay not kidding). These connections help you to welcome a new spouse to a unit or build lasting friendships. It's how we help other spouses grow their businesses or get through a tough training cycle or deployment. It's how we acknowledge that being a military spouse isn't just A thing, it's THE thing that gives us an unspoken understanding with one another. I am blessed to be a member of this community hope to connect with you too!