Military Life

Chronicles of a Control Freak: Life as a Military Spouse

I’ve been told that I am a bit of a control freak… maybe a micromanager…or perhaps an obsessive organizer. Personally, I like to think of myself as a serial planner, but regardless of what you call it, I will agree that I do indeed like the ability to control my circumstances. If I was a dog, I think I’d be a herding dog, steering and bossing all those sheep around.


Whether it’s driving a conversation, planning every vacation detail, making social plans or creating detailed checklists, I’ve always been most comfortable in the driver’s seat of situations. So, you can imagine that life as a military spouse has its challenges for someone that tries to control even the smallest aspects of their future.

I mean, why would anyone possibly want to know where they’re going to be living in 9/6/3 months? Or find out when their spouse is actually coming or going for deployment? It’s not like military families want to make plans to go on vacation, or find a place to live in their new duty station, or make any type of social or work commitments. Don’t be silly! Note: if you don’t always pick up on sarcasm, THAT was sarcasm.

My first control wake-up call came almost immediately after my now-husband joined the military when I was trying to plan our wedding. I was eager to set a date and send out the invitations as our wedding date was only two months away:

“Will we be able to get married on March 4? Are we good to go?” – chagrined and naïve Bride on January 15

“I’m not sure. They still haven’t given me my orders so I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to get home for leave or not,”Groom, calling from the public phone at Officer Candidate School

“AAAHKK!! Expletive! @$%!#!”Bride

“What was that?”Groom

“That was me pulling my hair out!”Bride

And thus began my control push-pull relationship with the military. For the record, we did get married on March 4 and everything worked out just as planned.

While I’m very much a work in progress, I think surrendering some control has actually precipitated positive personal change in me. There are definitely days where I wish I could hunt down our detailer or CO and give him a stern talking to. However, for the most part, I have grown more comfortable with taking a few deep breathes and repeating my military-spouse mantra – “Control the controllable.”

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