It’s now nearing the end of our THIRD month in the USA (w00t w00t). Everything is falling into place for us, especially me. In all the fun of building a life for myself, I’ve rediscovered something really, really important:
I am more than just my husband’s wife.
Ladies and gents, spouses of our service members, you are more than the spouse of a military member. You are a whole person, belonging to yourself and of yourself, and you have a right to possess a life for yourself that has nothing to do with your spouse’s job description. You are more than a tool in your spouse’s arsenal of ways to get in good with the boss. You are more than a worker bee for your spouse’s command. You are more than a pretty thing to hang on their arm at formal events.
You are more than married to the military.
Now that I’m working part time at a residential care center, working my butt off with my lifting coach, and coaching rowing again, I’ve remembered that I am very much my own person, with my own dreams, desires, and aspirations. Sure, I had those feelings while living in the fish bowl of an overseas military base, but those feelings are flourishing now, and I’m finding my own voice again. My husband does his work, comes home, and we talk about topics beyond just what he did at work that day; now, we also discuss what I did at work that day. We discuss my latest gains in the gym. We discuss my coaching plan for my rower (I’m doing private coaching work). We talk about our weekend plans, which have nothing to do with the Navy.
Don’t allow petty, small voices to make you feel like you’re a bad spouse if you’re not involved in your spouse’s work life 24/7. Don’t allow anyone to tell you that there is only one way to be a “good” military spouse. Don’t let yourself get boxed in.
Be involved as much as you and your spouse want you to be involved. Go to spouse club meetings, if that’s your thing. Help decorate the command table for the ball, take part in homecoming festivities, make friends with the other spouses in the command, but, above all else, do it because it makes YOU happy and fulfilled, not because you feel like you have to fit into a pretty, little military spouse box. Take part because it’s fun and adds value to your life. If it doesn’t add value, don’t do it.
Be yourself. Do you. Remember that your personal life and hopes and dreams and aspirations are important, too.
You are MORE than a military spouse. So much more.