One of the difficult things about being a military spouse is finding the balance between “his job” and “our military career.” It’s not my career. It’s his. But because of the nature of military life, it’s also “ours” together. Where we live, when we come and go, what kind of place we live, what my job options are, are all directly tied to the fact that my spouse is an active duty service member.
I get frustrated with the people who wear their spouse’s rank/career on their sleeves and act like they are the ones actually doing the work, and I want to be clear that this isn’t what I mean when I refer to “us” or say that “we applied for orders.” Physically my spouse is the one applying for orders. But we make the decisions together as a team because that is how we function but also because the things that happen in his career also happen to me.
It’s important to keep in mind the myriad of ways that we have to negotiate life from both the civilian and the military worlds and try to find a balance in between. Part of walking that line is establishing some clear (if only mental) guidelines to tell the difference.
These are the types of mindsets that have helped me:
- It’s “our” career but “his” job. The big picture stuff is ours together but the actual job? That’s all him.
- Big Career Decisions are jointly made because Big Career Decisions directly impact us both.
- “Military spouse” isn’t the toughest job in the military, despite what the stickers/tshirts/coffee mugs say. It’s no walk in the park but I’m not making life and death decisions.
- We live in a civilian house; the navy doesn’t live here. Once he walks through the door, military rules (mostly*) don’t apply.
- I hold no rank (and I’m pleased as punch about it). I don’t have any clout because of who my spouse is, nor do I have any restriction on who my friends are.
- I don’t have to impress anybody because, as mentioned, I hold no rank. I can just be me.
- His job is his job just like a plumber has a job and a lawyer has a job. This is just his job. I try to take it as seriously as I would take any job my spouse had, but not really more than that. It’s just his job.
At the end of the day it’s really what works best for you, but I find having a little perspective is good, too. Hopefully this helps you gain a little of that, too. As always, this is what works for us (and for me as a navigate this not-so-simple life) and your mileage may vary.
Got other tips? Share them below. 🙂
*Obviously we keep OPSEC things in mind no matter where we are and other common sense things.