Being a military spouse, let alone a young military spouse, is probably not what you think it is. I will tell you first hand I have no idea what I was getting myself into when I met my husband. The romanticized idea that has been created by popular media and Nicholas Sparks books is not what you get. And, often times as spouses or significant others we get chastised for “chasing” the uniform or “chasing” the dog tags; and even more common, told we are in it for the benefits. Let me tell you, hearing those things used to make me mad and even now it takes a lot of control to keep myself from getting frustrated. I have to remind myself that they probably don’t know what this life is like or what being with someone in the military is about.
It’s not about the uniform, the dog tags, or the benefits. Loving someone in the military, regardless of branch, is hard. Your whole life changes overnight and military life is completely different from civilian life. So what does being a with someone in the military mean? The short answer is, it means a lot. The longer answer, it is: changing your life more than you ever thought you would, learning how to balance military life with civilian life, planning ahead is a thing of the past, hurry up and wait, friends and family not understanding and repeating yourself a million times, and, (my favorite) last minute changes. I know all of those things sound negative and I will be honest, they are not always the best, but, being with someone in the military also means love. It means; finding out you are stronger than you think you are, constantly learning new things about yourself, having a bond with the person you love that will withstand just about anything, always being surprised and, never having a dull moment.
For me, being a military spouse is a feeling of being in two worlds; the civilian world and the military world. Most of us grew up in the civilian world and, unless you come from a military family you probably don’t know the ins and outs of military life. There is a lot to learn. The military world is an entirely different culture; new customs, new rules, a new language. It is a lot to navigate. Not to mention, if you’re like me, you are trying to navigate it at 22 years old. I don’t know about you but I am still trying to figure myself out so trying to understand a whole new culture was not exactly part of the plan.
I have been a student my whole life so when I was introduced into this world I did what I do best, I did research. Lo and behold there were not that many resources that were giving me information coming from someone my age who was asking the questions I was asking. I was lost, confused, and not sure what any of the information I was reading meant; but all I kept finding were blogs written by “seasoned spouses” who were looking back 20 years recounting what it was like for them in a time that is much different than ours. Don’t get me wrong, those blogs I found were helpful and I still read a lot of them today. But, they still were not exactly was I was looking for or hoping to find. There was no guideline anywhere, no easy to understand list of things to know, no tips, no tricks, no personal, relatable post. The only ones I did find I only found because I spent up to four hours at a time on my computer doing research. I know, lame right?
I was frustrated so after a year of getting things together, here I am. I want to share my story as a military spouse, as a college graduate trying to build her career, as a young women finding herself. I want to share the things I have learned and those resources I spent hours upon hours finding so you don’t have to, I want to help my fellow spouses and significant others who are trying to understand what all of this means. To me, that is the best part of being a military spouse; sharing your experiences and paying it forward.
The bottom line: being a military spouse is not what you think it is and it is not what you see in the movies but it is a pretty awesome adventure.