Military spouse, dependent, “the wife” (or husband), there are a variety of names to call us. In recent years, the spouses of active duty service members have, more or less, taken on a persona themselves. From the clothing stamped with “proud (insert branch) wife” to the hundreds of social media groups that have one common thread: being married to a member of the military, military spouses have taken on their own identity.
In fact, just by visiting facebook, you can break it down further. There are subcategories for military spouses broken down by religion, race, their spouse’s rank, location, and sexual orientation. Military spouses are no longer the “silent ranks” (by the way, whoever came up with “silent ranks”? So silly.) The modern military spouse has his or her own voice. And here’s how they are changing the game.
Social Media Savvy
As social media became the new way of communication, military spouses quickly figured out that this could help with military life. Social media became particularly helpful due to our nomadic lifestyle and frequent separations from spouses, family, and friends. It’s true that a few may have taken a tumble with social media (violating OPSEC, hate pages, rants taken out of context). However, the majority of us have used this powerful tool to connect with other like-minded people. We know more about our next duty station through facebook than our spouse does. No longer are spouses struggling to keep in touch with those they left behind. For the modern military spouse, social media has extended the shelf life of relationships that much further.
Boy, are we resilient. Whether it’s managing things on the homefront or fending off military spouse-haters (yes, that is a thing), modern military spouses know to focus on the important things in life. Through multiple PCS moves and deployments, the modern military spouses know the resources available to them (or at least knows how to find them). We’ve learned to find the the friendship amongst the strangers, light amongst the darkness, and the laughter amongst the sadness.
It’s a fact, military spouses are having more and more influence on the policies that affect military families. The military spouse residency relief act, the hiring programs for veterans AND military spouses, and the non-profits like National Military Family Association and Blue Star Families, that are consistently working to improve the lives of service members and their families. Even on a local level, more and more spouses are stepping up to the plate to take control of their goals of careers and/or family life. Speaking of goals…
More and more of us are making an effort to put our own goals along side of our spouses, instead of behind them. We work damn hard to achieve these goals too. We seek to find alternate routes. We ask for help or feedback when needed. We find our tribe of friends that can support us through our journey. I’ve seen military spouses achieve doctoral degrees. I’ve seen military spouses climb mountains. I’ve seen military spouses raise the most polite children I’ve ever seen. We all have different goals and the modern military spouse put the “goal” in “goal digger”.
We have learned to accept our “supposed” flaws. Do we participate in the mandatory family activities like we should? Probably not. Do we memorize the names and ranks of our spouse’s colleagues? Probably not. Do we always go to the commissary looking our best? Definitely not. And that’s ok. There’s no military spouse mold to fit. If there is, someone needs to destroy that crap, because that’s not ok. We are no longer stepford wives or dependas or any other stupid stereotypes. Our differences makes us who we are. Our strength is that we find the strength in ourselves to deal with the things military lives throws at us. We are modern military spouses, like us or not, we don’t care.
So what’s next?
Fellow modern military spouses, I know we face some challenges. That’s why I co-wrote a handbook along with my friends, Jo and Lauren. We’re spouses who have been there. It’s a guide for those who need some help, advice, or maybe laughter to cope with the challenges of military life.
Join us and grab your copy of Modern Military Spouse: The Ultimate Military Life Guide for Military Spouses and Significant Others. For launch week (Jan 11-16), there’s an amazing special just for you with some freebies from my etsy shop!
Read more about it here!