There is a debate going on about whether Military Spouses serve too. The question is, serve what?
Serve in the Military? No, unless they too have actually enlisted.
Serve their country? Yes, totally.
When your spouse is in the Military, it is not just a job but also a lifestyle.
Maybe this is because my first duty station as an Army wife was in Germany. Overseas things are a little different then stateside. People can’t live as separate of a life as they can in the states. When you have to depend on the local Military post for American foods, your mail, your car, etc, it is a lot harder to stay away from the Military as a whole. Stateside you don’t have to depend on the Military post for as much.
When my husband re-enlisted in 2005, everything changed. I realized this right away when I had zero control about what was going to happen to us. He went over to Germany and I had to wait behind in the states until the Army finished all the paperwork that needed to be done for me to join him. At the time I thought I had some control but I found out that I didn’t. If someone who was supposed to sign our paperwork went on a two-week vacation, we just had to wait.
You can’t control those either. Sometimes things can happen such as a soldier staying behind because you are having a baby. That was part of the reason my husband didn’t leave for his third deployment earlier, I was due one month after his year at home was over. We were not so lucky with baby #2 because he had to leave when I was 25 weeks pregnant and came home for R&R when he was born, missing the birth by 3 days. It really just depends on the Command and what they want to allow you to do.
I have been the wife of a soldier and the wife of someone working a regular job and there is a world a difference.
So back to the question, does the Military spouse serve her country?
If you are serving your country, you can do so in different ways. Standing by your Military spouse is one way to do that. Being there for them whether they are deployed or at home. When orders say it is time to move across the country, you do it. Understanding that the Military comes first and they can’t just call their boss to change things around. The Military is the one pillar in your life you have to work around. It isn’t flexible and if your spouse is making it a career, you have to figure out how you can handle it for the long haul.
Some years will be easier than others. Some deployments will be easier than others. Some duty stations will be easier than others.
Spouses serve in so many different ways. It’s a different type of serving than those who are serving IN the Military. We don’t have to see any battles, we don’t have to put on a uniform, we don’t have to say goodbye to our families for months at a time. We don’t have to put our lives in danger.
We serve in different ways. We serve our families and our communities. We strive to make things better, even in the simple ways. We are the support our spouse needs when they are home and away. We help make it possible for those with families to keep serving their country and it is nice to acknowledge that.
What do you think? Does it bother you if someone thanks you for serving too?