Military Life

The True Cost of Being a Military Spouse

I went through various stages of grief. At first I was angry. “Do you have any idea what I have given up so you can pursue your dreams?” Then I was sad. I would ask through tears, “What is my purpose?” After some time, I made it to acceptance. I understand that I am supporting the greater cause. Every choice that I have made until now has led me to this point. I am successful, but in a very different sort of way than I believed in growing up. Before, I thought success was measured in career status and income level. Now I understand that there are different kinds of success. I have a loving husband, a beautiful baby and a home we can call our own.

Every day military spouses everywhere are working hard, often in single-parent-type circumstances, to find a way to make our career goals fit into our unusual lifestyle. It’s a cost that’s difficult to comprehend before you experience it.

Giving up the dream job for a PCS.

Finding out your career field is nonexistent at a new duty station.

Not knowing how you are going to balance everything while he’s away this time.

Even though I am in the acceptance phase of my journey, it doesn’t mean that snarky remarks from others don’t hurt. Someone very close to me said the other day, “Enjoy your day at home. I’m on my way to work because I don’t have a husband that supports me.” Others have made comments about how it must be nice to be a stay-at-home wife (and now mom).

While they would never say it to my face, I have heard people comment about other military spouses being lazy or not doing anything with their lives. These comments are usually made from a combination of both humor and misunderstanding. It’s time to stop making assumptions based on the surface-level appearance of each other’s situations. Every military spouse has a story and we have all made sacrifices to live the life we are living.

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1 Comment

  • I was born a military brat with both parents serving on active duty, then became a soldier going to boot camp with older and younger sisters and have for 16 years been a military spouse. My resume from all appearances looks like I am unreliable, frequent deployments, transfers and away trainings have many times caused me to have to quit and sit at home. The expense of childcare has always been more than the job paid although I have three college degrees to my name which have been useless to me and now age is factoring into the equation now. I struggle to get through everyday while my husband is on a ship, one daughter in college and another in middle school, retirement for him is coming soon but financial stability is still a dream.

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