It’s no secret that I think military spouses are amazing. From their resiliency to their creativity to the depth of love they have for their service member even in the face of really difficult circumstances, spouses are inspirational. But let’s be real: They’re also human. And they’re allowed to be human.
Often, military spouses are expected to “suck it up,” “get over it,” or just deal when things are less than optimal. But I think it’s important to listen to what spouses have to say about their circumstances because we know that when military spouses and families feel taken care of, they’re able to better support their serving spouse. I posed a question to military spouses in the Jo, My Gosh! Facebook community: If you could change one think about military life, what would it be?
Their responses were telling. Here’s what they said:
It’s probably not surprising that military spouses wish they and their kids had more time with their serving spouse. From deployments to separations to the time wasted from hurry up and wait, military spouses just want more time. Here’s what they said specifically:
“A little bit more time with my husband. Especially for the kids.” -Harlee
“They wouldn’t miss the first full year of a child’s life.” -Angela
“Shorter deployments, more family time and communication of what to expect/when. A girl can dream, right?” -Katy
“Definitely the separations. I know that will never happen, but as long as we’re dreaming…” -Bethany
Military spouses often feel the military-civilian divide acutely, especially when they live in communities with little military presence. Spouses brought up the disappointment they also feel when it comes to the political will of leaders to make good on promises, like benefits and pay:
“Better healthcare and treatment for our veterans! It disgusts me how soldiers have sacrificed everything for their country, when called but are ignored are turned away when they call on their country.” -Jessica
” More pay! (If we’re being honest here!)” -Cassie
Military spouses often bristle at the mention of being “dependents.” Most military spouses see themselves as exceptionally independent people… and yet they are constrained by the needs of the military. That frustration was evident:
“More freedom when it comes to medical procedures/healthcare choice. The ability to say ‘No, I don’t want that’ to something that isn’t necessary without threatening someone’s career.” -Edith
“Being ‘volun-told.’ Especially last minute. I feel like we can never make plans.” -Hannah
But the topic that came up the most with military spouses? Stability. Feeling like life is in flux can be extremely stressful to families. Then add a deployment or separation, family dynamics, financial hardships, or other stressors, and the instability of military life can be overwhelming.
“The ability to stay at a duty station if you like it, especially if it’s not a popular choice/location.” -Stephanie
“Be able to choose exactly where you want to live.” -Jennifer
“No deployment extensions.” -Sara
“Having things set in stone, for example: I want to know exactly when my fiancé is going to deploy and for how long. Not knowing right now is killing me!” -Jennifer
“The inconsistency. I hate when the “Army” says one thing and then changes their mind last minute!” -Stephanie
“I would change the lack of organization and communication. You would think that a chain of command would help that .. not so much. I can’t tell you the amount of time my husband’s wasted being somewhere for it to change time, location and everything else when he could have been with his family until the real time and location.” -Tara