Military Life Spouse 101

More Than My Husband’s Job

Photo Credit: Rory MacLeod,

Don’t ask me what my husband does in the military. No really, please don’t. I have no idea. He’s explained his job to me at least six times, but it doesn’t stick. I believe it has something to do with the umpteen acronyms and initialisms.

I’m still getting used to life as a military spouse, but one thing I had no idea how to prepare for is other spouses asking about my husband: what he does, what his rank is. All I know is he leaves to go to work before I wake up and gets home in the evening. Also, for a while he was on “panamas” because apparently the Air Force is building a canal.

Why do we care what our spouses do? Thankfully, I will never have to do what he does, so I try not to let my husband bring work home. I learned that much from Oprah. We don’t need the added stress of thinking of work outside of his shifts (however long they may be).

Besides, I think that the whole identity of being an extension of your spouse in the service is the same as the entire notion of “a dependent.” I cannot be alone in grinding my teeth every time I go to the doctor, and they refer to me as such. It gets even better when you grin and say, “Oh, I’m a missus.” And whoever is working gives a look that says, “Right. A dependent”

Who do we call to get rid of that word?

Look, I love the community I married into. Where else do you meet so many people from so many different walks of life? In one day, I met a Mormon woman, a Jewish man, a couple from Alaska, and someone who just came from Guam. Now, I’m still not convinced that Guam is a real place, but that’s amazing! Personally, I think we should be talking more about that than positions and jobs. You know, the whole, “America is a melting pot” thing.

I challenge everyone reading this (I hope it’s more than just my mom reading this) to start asking about people’s lives outside of base. One of the coolest things about the military is that it helps shape you as a person, so let’s talk about the people. You can find things in common with someone where you used to feel completely alone. OR you can get an awesome spinach lasagna recipe, like I did last week.


Laura Donnelly-Long is a newbie military spouse and graduate of Rowan University. She has never been able to find Guam on a map. 


Leave a Comment