Ever stop and think about where you are at and then ask yourself, “How did I get here?”
That’s honestly how I’ve been feeling lately, in more ways than one. Being married and even more, a military spouse was not something I would’ve predicted a few years back. Needless to say I was not prepared in any way, shape or form for this reality.
Only four months into this life, here is exactly what it has been like as a military spouse.
A NEW LANGUAGE
Ever understand all the words in a sentence but have no idea what was just said? After moving in together and chatting with my husband everyday after work, I quickly realized I am not fluent in ‘military’. It became very apparent to me as to why they offer spouse orientations, workshops and events (which I still need to attend). Squadron? Unit? BAH? TDY? There’s so much to learn and as a reflection of my husband, it is important that I represent him well, meaning being knowledgeable in such jargon.
Quite honestly, it is a process! My work and schedule has kept me from being able to attend a proper event thus far. In the meantime, I ask my husband questions often and need the footnotes when we have work-related conversations.
“Today the ABC sent me to the DEF and so we are getting GHI.”
“Oh, tell me again, what is ABC, DEF, and GHI?”
(Typical evening conversation.)
“HEY YOU LOOKIN’ FOR A FRIEND? ME TOO.”
I recently went to a non-military event and someone said this to me. Seriously, my heart jumped for joy and a laughed in relief at the bluntness and realness of my newfound friend’s personality.
I’d say one of the biggest downfalls of being a military spouse is the uproot and relocation IF you don’t take action. Finding friends can be tough, just like you search for apartments and jobs upon relocation, you have to search for friends. You need to work hard when you get your job, and your apartment isn’t going to clean itself (I wish), likewise maintaining new friendships require time and work!
As I attend more spouse events and further dive into my hobbies (dance classes!) I know this “problem” will dissipate, but it for sure is a new military spouse factor.
One of the more popular topics surrounding being a military spouse are all the benefits. Free health insurance, food and housing allowances, discounts around town, the list goes on! Heck, we got hitched earlier than our wedding date in order to cash in on all the bennies!
I was honestly a bit overwhelmed when I started to realize the “entitlements” I receive as a spouse. A little bit of a Cinderella feeling and shock. Not only do you receive benefits, but you are a benefit to your spouse since their pay and allowances increase upon marriage.
Just the other day, I walked out of a local Chipotle as happy as a bee, clutching my brown bag of discounted veggie tacos. YAS!
So far, the positives outweigh the negatives for sure. That is not to say that this new stage is an easy one. Above all, I am grateful for my marriage and union. Being a military couple is an added factor to our relationship that brings its own set of baggage. But what relationship comes without it?
Please comment if you are also a military spouse or grew up in a military family. I’d love to hear your stories and advice!