photo: Jessica McGehee
My husband has now been in the military for a little over three years. When he first told me he was signing up for bootcamp, my brain was flooded with romantic notions about a big, beautiful house, long love letters, and living in exotic places across the world.
Boy, did I get a reality check.
Instead of going to Spain or Hawaii, we got Norfolk, Virginia (so much for that dream sheet, right?), and rather than a luxurious house with a two-car garage, our humble abode had cockroaches greeting us on move-in day.
Of course, we made it work, and as many newlyweds discover, little mattered other than our excitement of being husband and wife. Unfortunately, there are there are many more troubling–and less humorous–myths about the typical military couple that need to be debunked.
Here are 20 myths that still plague us as spouses:
1. Everyone cheats in military marriages.
Does cheating happen in the military? Of course. Does cheating happen more than in civilian relationships? Not necessarily. However, due to the tight-knit nature of the military community, gossip spreads fast, leading people to believe one incident of cheating speaks for every military marriage.
2. Military couples never see one another.
While many military couples do deal with frustrating schedules and little time together at home, this is not the experience of all military marriages. In fact, depending on the job of the service member, they may have a less demanding schedule than their civilian spouse. Plus, we make up for the long-distance relationship with strong communication via phone calls, emails and letters.
3. Every military couple has a dozen kids.
Many of my friends with partners in the military have no interest in having children, just the same as many of my friends with civilian partners don’t want kids. Bottom line: It’s the couple’s choice, so let’s all stop pressuring each other to reproduce.
4. Military spouses rely completely on their partners.
Military spouses are some of the strongest, most independent people out there. We move with little to no notice, have to find new support networks everywhere we go, take care of our families when our partners are deployed, and always find a way to make it work.
5. All military couples get to travel the world.
Not all of us move from country to country, or even to multiple states. Some couples stick in one duty station throughout their entire time in the military, and others may never even leave the comfort of their home state.