RTFU

Military Wives: How Much Comfort is Too Much?

By
Updated: August 1, 2013

 

By Six Jayne

 

Times have changed so much from when my mom was a military wife.

I could remember hearing stories of how she would drag me as a 1-year old baby and my older brother down to a Red Cross tent to sit for hours waiting to see if my father got to call back to talk to family.  She still has old cassette looking things filled with him talking to her from some faraway place that took weeks to arrive.

There’s a small photo album—one of those old ones that have the plastic sheet you fold over pictures—filled with pictures of his time in service before he was killed in action.  I used to laugh at how she told me she’d get ready for a night out or clean the house, but it was just for him coming home from work.  She cherishes each and every memory.  It’s almost heart breaking to watch her drift away in her thoughts, but the smile that forms on her face makes it all better.

So what’s changed?  People still marry service members. They still have post housing. Still get medical coverage. And people still deploy to faraway places. Military_Skype

Enter the new world of technology and era of military.

With advances in communications, people are able to see loved ones all over the world instantly. People can video call, text, email, send pictures, and all almost instantly.  There’s comfort for soul to see your spouse’s face from 6ooo miles away, and no doubt it comforts the deployed as well. It becomes almost expected to be able to talk to someone while deployed.  It’s almost like calling grandma a few states over.

But how much comfort is too much?  There’s been countless ‘actions’ that have affected the military world.  Pictures being leaked out, videos uploaded, and let’s not forget the unintentional OPSEC broken by those back home uploading what’s sent to them.

someonebloggedEver had your return delayed because of an OPSEC no-no?  It sucks. Sure it may not be something intended by a loved one—they just wanted to upload a picture sent to them showing their Soldier standing somewhere in Afghanistan with his interpreters. They didn’t mean to violate anything or jeopardize lives.  They were just being proud and wanted to show the world.  “Let me post this on Facebook for 8 billion jillion people to see. And never mind that my profile lists me as married, my husband’s name, our location, map points of where I’ve been lately, and that I’ll be alone because he’s deployed because I listed his unit name and company.”

That leads me to this ‘new era’ of military.  I 100% agree that it is a morale booster for those serving to be able to include their family in things. It builds cohesion and all that stuff that makes a family strong.  Branches spend money to hold events for spouses, outings, and all kind of activities so that they feel they are welcome and appreciated. But what was started to increase the moral has quickly become a rabid overtaking of entitlement.

Don’t get me wrong, I know and have experienced deployments and military life. It can take a toll.  But how much inclusion is needed?  You have spouses that call command for minor things—things that take away from a unit/company work day.  All you have to do is browse through social networks to see an infinite number of spouse pages sharing information.

Sure, some of it is great info to keep people in the know.  Some of it is a little too much.

Because of this inclusion we have a plethora of spouses running around doing some pretty silly things.  We’ve all heard it before, that spouse saying “why aren’t you saluting me as I come through the gate? My husband is an officer.”  Or the “I’m going to call your husband’s command on you!” when 2 wives get into an online e-fight over something.

What’s happening all over is that SOME spouses are taking things a bit too literal and beginning to get that entitled air about them.  Some feel the need to shove it down throats of anyone close enough to hear.  They have to advertise it by wearing PT shirts, carrying ‘bragbags’ to show name and rank, and a ton of moto things shouting out they are a spouse of service member.

I can’t leave out the ones who expect things.  Holidays are often the craziest.  Times are hard and people do what they can to get by. But to see military spouses complaining they didn’t get a free tree or a free turkey… Come on, now.  How about those that vent they didn’t get that discount in a store because it’s only offered to active personnel? “But I serve, too!”

*Pause to let that sink in*

What’s so bad about just being a loving spouse?  One who cares and raises the family.  Why does someone feel this need to separate themselves by saying “Military Spouse.” And why do they feel they deserve more than any other spouse out there?  Is a military spouse more loving than a Sanitary Worker Wife? Or a wife of a Wal-Mart Sporting goods manager?

As my mom would say in her thick Asian accent “they so crazy. Why they think they be something else, huh. They a wife. Why not be proud of that?”

Comments

comments

20 Comments

  1. Clarissa

    August 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Great article! I agree with you 100%!

  2. Dara Hellman

    August 1, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    I agree. Sing it, sister.

  3. Becky

    August 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Speaking the truth as always, Six! Very well-written article. 🙂

  4. Tiffany

    August 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Great Article! Love the picture of the Goins to go along with it. They are such a great family!

  5. BJ Jones

    August 1, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Right there with you. As a veteran and current spouse, everything you have expressed, rings true. When my father deployed, we maybe got to talk to him once a month. When my husband deployed, I talked to him four times; when he left Germany, before he went on a mission, when he returned from the mission, and finally when he got back to Germany. The entitlement of other spouses is something I will not miss when our journey with the military is over next month.

  6. Surra

    August 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Great article Six! You are spot on… maybe some women will read this and maybe think twice about complaining that the PFC at the gate didn’t salute her driving on base.

  7. Aimee

    August 1, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Loved this article. I see so many that can not wait to get rid of their husband but they are the same ones who complain the most when he is gone. Let’s all be thankful that we have the extra ways to stay in touch. As women we all want to do the big jobs and make sure that there are equal rights for men and women but I feel like in some ways we have gone soft. Let us just support our men and take care of our families and
    “Woman up”

  8. Kate

    August 1, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    This is so very true. Though I can say, sometimes, when I’m working an people say, I don’t know how those wives do it, or it must be so hard to love a military man. I will speak up and tell them, yes, the deployments can be hard, but it is NEVER hard to love my husband. I can honestly say the only times I’ve called the command were when our child had a seizure and was being taken to the ER and when I was pregnant with said child and went into preterm labor at a routine appointment. No matter what happens in our family, the military owns him, they say when he can come home, I just welcome him when he does.

  9. AJ

    August 1, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Well stated.

  10. Rodb47

    August 1, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Awesome article. Love it. Especially your mom.

  11. JoeC

    August 1, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Thank you! And some of the kids are just as bad. There was an E5 on post with a son that put a sticker of his dad’s stripes on his car to identify himself as an NCO at the gate. And then he demanded that everyone extend him the same respect they would his dad. What a punk. And when he turned 18 he didn’t even sack up and join to try to earn some of the respect he thought he deserved.

  12. Andy

    August 1, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    The divorce rate isn’t any higher than the general population and I think that speaks volumes about military spouses. Yes, I do think they’re more loving than the wife of a Walmart employee because they have to deal with their children crying about daddy being gone, they have to deal with companies hesitant to hire them because they know they’ll have to move when the spouse moves, they have to deal with bitches who know nothing of the hardships that a wife on the sidelines has to deal with, they have to deal with stereotypes perpetuated by single military members, they have to deal with loose females on deployment with their spouse and they’re supposed to do all of this without being “too proud” of what they’re sacrificing by being married to a man in the military. They do sacrifice as well, even if you don’t care to acknowledge that.

    You’re right about the brag bags, trying to pull rank and the saluting thing, though it must be a rare occurrence.

    • Ashliegh

      August 1, 2013 at 10:03 pm

      To say that military wives are more loving than walmart wives is just ridiculous, a wife is a wife simple as that. It doesn’t matter what kind of job her or her husband has.

      • Sunny

        August 2, 2013 at 1:36 pm

        Maybe they aren’t more loving but they are definitely stronger. Yes, we decided to marry a man in the military but it was because we fell in love. You cant’s choose who you love. I had sworn to never even date a guy in the military again. Then I ended up marrying a man in a Special Operations unit. We didn’t choose the lifestyle, we chose him and knew that that meant we would have to be courageous and deal with what military life threw at us. I didn’t expect anyone to salute me and I didn’t wear military gear every day so the world knew. In fact, we tried to make it unknown to the general public for our safety as well as theirs. I didn’t need anyone breaking into my house because they knew my husband was gone. I agree that a lot of wives need to stop bragging and acting entitled, but I know a lot of really great wives that respect what the military has already given them and remain faithful to their husbands and their country.

  13. Kay Govocek

    August 1, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    I guess I’ve led a pretty sheltered military life. I was raised an AF Brat, married into the AF the first time for 13 yrs, now married for the second time military again, 11 yrs. I have never heard a wife demand to be saluted. Never heard a wife demand a military discount or threaten to call someone’s commander. The military wives I know ARE proud to be military wives. The jobs they support their husbands doing are a little more dangerous than a sanitation mans, or a Walmart sporting goods manager. We also spend more time separated from our partners than either of those jobs entail – meaning we’re shouldering it all on our own – house, bills, kids, school, jobs along with the stress of not knowing if we’ll get that next email, that next skype call, that next phone call ever again. But that’s just my .02 worth. What do I know.

  14. Chris

    August 1, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    I agree with everything you said except the very last part. Military spouses, spouses of firemen and police officers and the like, we are different from others. We deal with things “civilian” spouses don’t even know exist. Many can’t hack it. We deal with all of the day to day stressors everyone else does, along with extra ones. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging this, being proud of it even. “Civilian” couples who make it the long haul in this era of 50% divorce rates are congratulated because it is an accomplishment. We don’t need to act like our marital success does not count just because our spouse is in the military. Although we do not serve like our spouses do and should not be entitled to anything like discounts, handouts, sympathy or attention just because we are military spouses, it would be inaccurate to act like we are not different.

  15. Amanda

    August 1, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    I may get trashed for this but, doesn’t the money all come from the same account? Whether I go to Lowes or my husband runs to Lowes for paint…. the money still comes out of the same account. A discount for me is a discount for him and vice versa. I don’t understand why there needs to be a distinction. You’re married. The money belongs to the family.

    And anyway, I’ve never run into that. If they have a sign that says “Military Discount,” I ask and then show my ID and have never had any vendor say “No”… and if they did because I wasn’t the service member I would simply say “well the money comes from OUR account so it’s the same as if he shopped here instead of me… so why the distinction? Is that because you want to offer the discount to as few of people as possible?” Actually… I would probably just roll my eyes and say “okay”… but I’d be thinking the other snarky comment!

    Also Military marriages are hard! And they get harder depending on the kind of service the service member does (i.e. Special Forces). They leave often and the spouse has to be very independent or else the marriage won’t last. And despite what a commenter said above, the divorce rate in the military IS higher than outside of it. When my husband and I were married his command required a marital class through the Marine Corps because of the high divorce rates (not just for us, but everyone who got married in his battalion). It takes a LOT of commitment to be able to hold a marriage together through a career that threatens to incapacitate one partner at any moment.

  16. Jenny

    August 1, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    I am a spouse and a Soldier. Do I ask for a free turkey, or whatnot. HELL NO!! But, having the hubby go on a deployment, is not the same as having your husband go to a normal job Its completely different. I must say the miitary has taken care of us when it came to family medical issues, but I have had more nights than I want to count that he was out the door before any of us where even up, he came home after the kids and I had gone to sleep. Its different being a military spouse.

    As an FRG Leader, it was even more different. I had to take into account all of the families and I can tell you, when it came to spouses, I have never met a more giving, loving group of spouses, who wanted nothing more then to ensure that we took care of the families when their Soldier was gone.

    So I have seen both sides, and on both there are the few nut jobs you are taking about, but they are Soldiers, just as there are Spouses.

    EIther we married into the military or we joined… if you did it to get free stuff… you joined the wrong group…

  17. krista younger

    August 3, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Former military…former dual military and former army wife here…I agree but there are other occupations that deal with the same things. I am from south Louisiana, and all of the males in my family have or do work offshore. danger is inherent from the second they board a boat or helo to get to their platform until they arrive safely back at shore…sometimes without anything more than a few phone calls a month. some rigs allow skype, some don’t…so be sure to recognizeoilfield wives as well. rant over.-Household 6, out!

  18. Jane Springfield

    August 5, 2013 at 1:39 am

    Why do so many women care about throwing around rank, occupation, etc? I remember reading OPSEC for the first time and not mention unit names, censor faces/names/patches and yet, the OPSEC nazis violate this all the time all for the sake of bragging that they landed a military man like he’s some kind of trophy.

    Great article!!!

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