It takes a strong personality to be a military spouse. Even the quiet ones have to build up a confidence in knowing they can run a household – at the drop of a hat – while their spouse is called to duty. This can be for a few days at a time, all the way up to over a year. As a milspo, you never know what you're going to get. However, there are some things that can help make life easier.
There's no denying that Tricare is one of the biggest benefits of becoming a service member. Now that premiums are hitting all-time highs for mediocre coverage at best, it's a huge advantage to have top-notch healthcare for your family- especially when it's paid for. While in years past this was still a positive, as insurance markets and healthcare changes, it's become more and more valuable.
...I learned of free spousal classes. Offered on post for newbies (as well as those who are "nearly new"), it's put on by the MWR. (Morale, welfare, and recreation) It comes with a tour, rundowns of the area, an overview of services, and the ability to meet other newcomers while you're there. A priceless resource, I now realize.
FOLLOWING 9/11, we were deployed to the airport.
IN THE BEGINNING, people thanked us for our presence.
OUR LEADERSHIP DIDN’T THANK US: our lodgings were at the Marriott.
AFTER TWO MONTHS, I was allowed to return home.
SHY OF QUALIFYING FOR LONG-LASTING BENEFITS, everybody else got booted: involuntarily discharged.
“YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO GET IT THIS GOOD AGAIN,” our leadership said.
In my just-over-two-years as a military wife, my life has completely changed. I've learned "the system," moved states away from "home," and taken on an entirely different form of reality. No, I didn't change my morals or beliefs, nor vastly adjust spending habits – the military still leaves you with an identity, after all.
In Tim O’Brien’s masterful, short-story collection, The Things They Carried, the first-person narrator talks about returning to Vietnam with his daughter twenty years after he was a foot soldier there. While fictional, the story isn’t too far off for many Americans, who have returned to Vietnam on vacation
One of the worst things about being deployed was being trapped on the base all the time. On the occasions that I did get to venture out, I was restricted to when and where I could go. I understood the necessity of the restrictions, but would have really liked more freedom to explore my surroundings.
In the military world, there's a certain pattern you get used to. You go somewhere new, knowing nothing and no one; it's terrible. Then gradually, over time, things get to be not so bad. You make friends, you find hobbies and stores you like. Then, about the time you're used to your new home, it's time to up and leave and start the whole process over again.
The contract that I signed when I joined the Army reflected that I would serve no more than the four years that I signed up for. I put in a little overtime during that stretch (in those days you had to treat the military contract like a + 1 wedding invite; the + 1 in my case reflects the extra year of overseas duty after I got stop-lossed).
Long-distance relationships are hard under any circumstances. Add in stress of danger, work, separation of home life, and more (you know, the other stuff that comes from being deployed, not just on a work trip), and it's a scenario that's downright painful. Yet there are plenty of spouses who live this reality every single day.
Back when my husband worked in TRADOC (that's training + doctrine), he told me a story I've never forgotten. It was about a call they got at basic training: a wife called because her husband wasn't getting his mail quickly enough. His drill sergeants had a field day. The man got in a world of trouble, and his mail never came any faster – it simply took as long as it took.