1. The Myth: Military Spouses Don’t Have Jobs and Are Not Educated
The Reality: The other day I was volunteering with my husband at Habitat for Humanity, a cause that is close to our hearts. One of the volunteers asked me if we had kids and when I said no, she then asked me in a very condescending voice “So, what do you do all day to keep yourself busy while your husband is on base?”
When I told her that I worked full time, her face collapsed in shock before she quickly tried to recover herself. I’m willing to bet that most military spouses have likely encountered this form of prejudice at some point. I don’t know why, but for some reason when some people think of military spouses, they picture an army of 50’s era Stepford wives, sitting at home alone and ironing our husband’s laundry. We are seen as nothing more than supporting characters in our husband’s story.
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. If anything many of the military spouses I’ve met have more grit, determination, and drive than the average person because we need to in order to survive in this lifestyle. While not everyone fits this mold, most military spouses I’ve met either work, are actively looking for a job, go to school, or are stay at home parents raising their kids, which is a job in it’s own right. We are not just riding on our servicemember’s coat tails.
2. The Myth: We All Have 5 Kids
The Reality: There is no one size fits all military family. Some families have 5 kids, some have 2, some don’t have kids and some never want kids.
3. The Myth: The Military Divorce Rate Is Higher
The Reality: This is one that even I thought was true, but was happily surprised to find out otherwise. The divorce rate between military couples has actually hit its lowest level in 10 years! According to 2016 studies, the divorce rate for both officer and enlisted men and women is only 3.1 percent.
4. The Myth: We all get to live somewhere exotic and overseas
The Reality: Unfortunately, not all of us get to live overseas for a few years. It depends on your servicemember’s rate and what’s available when they are transferring.
5. The Myth: All military spouses are women who are straight
The reality: As the number of enlisted women grows, so too does the number of male military spouses. It’s easy to forget sometimes but there are many men out there married and supporting their female servicemember, just as the female military spouses do. There are also many gay couples in the military out there as well. We come in all types, just like civilian spouses.
6. The Myth: Base housing is free
The Reality: Base housing is most definitely NOT free and can sometimes be more expensive than regular housing. When a military couple lives on base, they take housing pay out of the military member’s checks in order to pay for utilizing base housing.
7. The Myth: Military spouses only associate with spouses that hold the same rank as their servicemember
The Reality: While I am sure there are a few spouses out there that ridiculously try to “wear” their husband’s rank by holding themselves to be of the same rank, this couldn’t be further from the truth of all of the military spouses I’ve met. The majority of military spouses are firmly aware that we are NOT in the military, our spouse’s rank has nothing to do with us, and do not judge other spouses based off that rank. Just as our servicemember’s wouldn’t try to wear our job title, we don’t wear theirs.
8. The Myth: Everybody cheats
The Reality: If anything, I think military life gives you more of an appreciation for your spouse and makes you work harder at protecting your marriage. While some military spouses do cheat, I believe those same people would cheat whether they were in the military or not, just as some civilian spouses are cheaters. It comes down to morals and how much you care about your marriage, which doesn’t change whether you are a military couple or a civilian couple.
9. The Myth: When your servicemember is home you get to see them all the time
The Reality: Unfortunately, even when our servicemembers are not on deployment or are on shore duty, they still frequently work longer hours and more days than a civilian does.
10. The Myth: We hate being a military spouse
The Reality: I’m not going to lie to you, sometimes this military life is hard. Between the deployments, the transfers, and the many other curveballs military life throws at you, most military spouses feel a little disenchanted with this lifestyle at one point or another.
However, there are also many things to love about being a military spouse. You get to “try out” living in several different states or even countries.
You get to find out things about yourself you never knew, have experiences you never dreamed of, and test yourself in ways you never thought you’d be tested.
You get to make new friends all over the world and most of all you get to go through this with your best friend, your servicemember, who you love all the more because of this adventure you’ve embarked on together.
We love being military spouses because we love being in this crazy life with our servicemember.
What military myths have you encountered?