I recently had one of those moments where you scratch your head and say, Huh? Honestly, I have a lot of those moments, but this particular one was hard to shake off. You know when you hear bits and pieces of someone’s conversation on accident and then they say something that sets your radar off? We are talking full blown red lights flashing and sirens blaring. I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, I didn’t have to, these two people I happened to be hearing had their volume turned up! They had the best time talking about their opinion of what it must be like to be a military spouse, military wives in particular, but little do they know spouses aren’t limited to being female. In fact, according to a demographic report published by the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, there are over 49,000 male spouses as of 2012. They do exist! Now that we cleared that up, we can get back to the all out spouse bashing session I had a front row seat to. It got me thinking, why do we get a bad rap? Are some of these things true?
So, like any other 21st century type, I turned to Google to help me “research” what stereotypes are out there. Very scientific, I know. And, WOW! There was no lack of “information”. From a derogatory term comparing military wives to a certain herbivorous mammal in sub-Saharan Africa, to list after list of negative labels…I could of spent hours going through all of the garbage. I thought to myself, if I were I new spouse, these things could be really discouraging. So I was on a mission to prove all of them wrong and educate the uneducated! But why even put those nasty stereotypes and words in print again, I would just be giving them more power. Instead, I think it is important to talk about some stereotypes that we can be proud of.
- The Selfless Volunteer Spouse- He or she is always ready to do whatever they can to help. Whether it be aiding another spouse with day to day life when they need it, organizing base events or bettering their community, these “volunspouses” are dependable, trustworthy, sincere and passionate about improving people’s lives. You can find these specific type of spouses on or around military installations, they will be the ones GETTING STUFF DONE AND MAKING A DIFFERENCE! FACT!
- The Professional Spouse-These spouses are nothing short of amazing! They are trying to balance children, careers, deployments and military life in general. Some of these spouses may be in the military themselves. Juggling work and family is not for the faint of heart, these “pro spouses” are resilient, devoted and aren’t afraid to rely on their support system when needed. They can be found just about anywhere, executing their creative strategies to make it all work.
- The Veteran Spouse-If you are looking for a mentor with a ton of knowledge, look no further. These “vet spouses” have seen and experienced it all. They enjoy taking you under their wing and showing you the ropes! Their calm demeanor is contagious and they can carry on a conversation with anyone. You want to scream, “Teach me your ways”, but don’t…because that’s crazy. Veteran Spouses epitomize everything we think we know about being a spouse. You can find them patiently awaiting their spouse’s retirement, very stoically, of course.
Now these are some stereotypes we can run with. Our military community is filled with positive people who are transforming lives! How amazing is that? If you look for dirt, that’s what you’re going to find. Look for the gold, it’s all around you and much more valuable. Share your positive spouse stereotypes using #msanspousesunite!
Spouses are an invaluable part of the team and together we are one!