Military Spouses are Anything But Dependent.


After reading a Navy Wives Facebook Support Page, I thought a few girls needed this one.

This Column is Dedicated to The Spouses, “Those who Silently Serve.”

Anything But Dependent is the title I chose for this weekly spouse column. I came up with this title because of the stereotype we are given. Our civilian counterparts have labeled us as dependent, needy, and whiney.  I am normally pretty reserved when someone has views different from my own.  I respect them, keep an open mind, and try to gain perspective from listening to others.  But this is something that I can’t keep quiet about.  I even caught myself snapping at a very rude woman in line behind me at the store once.  She was talking about living in “this town” and how she was tired of “these lazy military wives” to a friend on the phone.

She was referring to an exhausted looking woman in pajama pants who was in front of us holding her credit card and a Military ID.  While I waited for her to end her conversation, thoughts flew through my mind.  Who was the woman in the pajama pants? I wonder what would bring her to the store at 7:45AM.  Was she sick with no one to help her?  Was she getting something for her child that couldn’t wait until later?

I then started thinking of all the times that I have gone to the store in sweat pants and my hair tied in a knotty mess just to get the much-needed medicine for my children or myself.  So many thoughts were rushing through my brain that it made my face heat up.  The women hung up her phone and I turned to her and said, “I couldn’t help but over hear your comment about military wives, I just wanted to let you know that you are putting a very negative stereotype on a large and amazing group of women.”  She replied, “There’s nothing amazing about women that sit around waiting on their husbands and having babies!” 

Oh, no she did not just say that,” I thought to myself.  It took all I had not to scream at this woman. I paid for my items and then I calmly turned and faced her eye to eye and said,” I am the wife of an active duty Navy man who protects your right to say whatever you want, but I will have you know that I don’t sit around and wait for him.  I have my own life, a job, two amazing children, and I get more done by 9 am than most women do in an entire day.  Maybe you should think twice before labeling someone you know nothing about”.  I then walked away without giving her the chance to reply.

I felt a rush of adrenaline and emotion.  Is that what people really think of the military wife?  I quickly came to the conclusion that this girl was just ignorant.  She doesn’t know any better.  How would she?  No one lies across their bed as a teenage girl dreaming of marrying the man of her dreams who will seldom be home.  I’m sure she doesn’t know the strength it takes to give birth while your husband is deployed or take care of a child all by herself night after night, not knowing when her next full night of rest may be.  This girl has never moved into a town she didn’t know and had to purchase a home or find a job by herself not knowing how long she will live there.  Only the women that have walked in the shoes know the challenges, obstacles, and extreme strength it takes to do all of this.

Military spouses are anything but dependent.  The military labels us as a “dependent” of our husbands.  And I understand what the military means by it. But, by the definition of the word itself, we are far from it.  My husband likes to say he couldn’t function in the Navy without me.  I’m his rock.  We are best friends and a team.  Sure my husband could have done this by himself, but he isn’t. The Navy did not issue me; therefore I’m not a necessity, right?  My husband would argue that one.  We believe that without each other, we wouldn’t be who we are today. We give credit to each other for all of our successes.  Nothing has been accomplished alone.  I’m sure that there might be a few salty men that disagree with the statement saying that their wife had nothing to do with their success and vice versa.  Maybe it’s true, but that is something I would happily and respectfully challenge.

With that said, there is a fine line between dependency and support.  I look to my husband for support, but I am not dependent.  I support my husband, but he is not dependent upon me.  We encourage, love, and respect each other.  And together, though sometimes very far apart, we take on the world one day at a time.

Military wives are strong, smart, resourceful, and can do anything that they put their minds to.  We could give MacGyver a run for his money.  As women, we need to find the strength within ourselves and not be discouraged by the word “dependent”.  This is where that cute childhood saying comes in. Anything boys can do, girls can do better.  Well, maybe not always better, but we can do it.  And while our husbands are away, we do it all and then some.  Although I admit, there are some things I wish my husband were here to do during the deployments.  An example would be that it is a well-known fact that my air conditioner and I are not friends.  My lawn mower and I go through angry spells and there are days that my trimmer won’t even talk with me.  Well, if talking was considered turning on.  And of course the biggest issue is that my best friend is deployed.

The bottom line is that we can run a household, have a career, find time to volunteer, raise a family, go to school, start a business, have time with our biological families and our Navy families, taxi our children around and so much more, but with one huge difference. Our husbands are serving in the military.  The worry, stress, and schedule add weight to everything above.  Be proud of your accomplishments.  You really are anything but dependent.

Question, comment or topic you would like to see in this column?

Email Marie at marieangela@mac.com

208 thoughts on “Military Spouses are Anything But Dependent.

  1. I am a newly married submariner wife & my husband is getting ready to leave on the 2nd deployment (1st since we’ve actually been ‘married’) and I came across your blog from my husband’s sr shief’s wife…. just browsing through reading some of the blogs makes me feel so much better. and so far this one is my absolute favorite. i love your blogs!

  2. I have been in the Navy for 15 years and my wife IS MY ROCK! I am convinced that I could never make it through the deployments without her. I have never thought of her as my dependent. We are a team and I could never be more grateful to have someone as amazing as her in my life! She shared this link with me and I agree with everything that was said!

  3. You tell ’em. I’m not a military wife but I give kuddos to all those that are. Thank you for your service to our country!!!

  4. i really like ur article so much i just wanted to say that sometimes i feel like i dont belong because me and husband dont have kids yet or i dont work people think that its not as hard on me or my husband but we are best friends all each other have our family live far aways so when my husband is on deploymetn i feel sad i miss him im lonely to bored and everything else see my husband has been in the navy for 3 years and has been on 2 depolyments and some underways again thank u for ur artical have a great day

  5. I loved this article. I come from a totally military family, dad, brothers, husband have all served and now my son is serving, so I know the routine well. I had an astonishing role model, a very hard working and loving woman, who never served on the frontline but was always serving at home, my Mother. As I became the military spouse I realized how dedicated you have to be to follow a soldier around for 20 + years, I use to tease my husband when he would go on deployments that when he got off his vacation it was my turn. He would always say ” you only get a week because I won’t last any longer”. My girlfriends who weren’t associated with the military life would always make the remark ” I don’t know how you do it with your husband gone for so long”. I would always tell them hard work and organization. I realized one day when mine and my husbands 15th anniversary was coming up that we had really only spent about 7 years together under the same roof. During that time I was busy raising our children, working, earning a college degree, keeping house and all that goes with it, making sure the kids got to ball and dance classes, and keep the car running. Dependent, why yes we are.. you can always count on us to get things done when are partner is out defending our country! Lazy Spouses I think not, which one of us has the time to be lazy…. I’d like to meet that one and find out how they did it. My husband asked me what I wanted when he retired, my answer…. to never mow the lawn again!

  6. I am in a duel military relationship my Fiance is stationed three hours away from me and I am on an aircraft carrier the only way I have made it through two deployments in two years with another one to follow is with his love and support. I don’t know what I would have done without the emails and care packages. I just want to let people know that every little thing helps. Just reading his emails about going to the grocery store or doing laundry make my day a million times better deployment is hard and I just want to say thank u to everyone out there who has ever written a letter sent a care package or just said a prayer for the men and women who serve.

  7. Pingback: Military Spouses are Anything But Dependent. (via They Call Me Dependent) « The Fedoryshyn's

  8. thank you, thank you, thank you….. I am a Navy wife, I am so proud of what my husband does, and so proud of what WE do, but its so hard to be so misunderstood! Even my own family at times, when my husband is gone for months at a time and I am raising two kids, will barely aknowledge that I am doing anything major… but if my sisters husband has to go out of town and its her birthday, they throw this huge party… I remember thinking, my husband has missed Christmases, birthdays, first days of school, more things than I can count… not that you shouldnt be sad if your husband is gone for a weekend but mine is gone for months and I dont even get calls- I guess because I signed up for it?? Eh! I have a double whammy, because I am just a “lazy stay at home mom”. I have a disease that causes pain and fatigue and some days getting out of bed is a chore- but I dont have a choice because I am the only one there, my husband and I get maybe a date or 2 a year if we go visit relatives, and I cant remember the last time I did anything alone. I am NOT complaining. I love my life…. but people just dont get it. and they CAN’T possibly understand until they have been there… it takes one HELL of a woman to do what we do! 😉

  9. Marie,
    Thank YOU! I am the wife of an active duty Army “dude” and it is fantastic that you said your piece without getting (too) upset. After 10 years and 49 months separated, I have spent my fair share standing in-line hearing and thinking exactly what you described. I actually had an experience in the ‘sary where I heard some retirees griping about the ‘active’ spouses and their ‘unruly’ children. I still shake my head thinking about it.

  10. Marie,

    Your article above speaks volumes to what us military wives do! I am a PROUD Coast Guard spouse! My husband has been serving for 3 years now and we have adopted our first child (his first my second). We work like a team! I found a plaque that is called the “The Coast Guard Wife” by the John Wills Studios, Inc. and this is what it says:
    The good Lord was creating the model for Coast Guard wives and was into his sixth day of overtime when an angel appeared. She said “Lord, you seem to be having a lot of trouble with this one. What’s wrong with the standard model?”

    The Lord replies “have you seen the specs on this order? She has to be completely independent, possess the qualities of both father, and mother, be a perfect hostess to four or forty with an hour’s notice, run on black coffee, handle every emergency imaginable without a manual, be able to carry on cheerfully, even if she is pregnant and has the flu, and she must be willing to move to a new location ten times in seventeen years. And oh, yes, she must have six pairs of hands.”

    The angel shook her head, “Six pairs of hands? No way.”

    The Lord continued, “Don’t worry, we will make other Coast Guard wives to help her. And we will give her an unusually strong heart so it can swell with pride in her husband’s achievements, sustain the pain of separations, beat soundly when it is overworked and tired, and be large enough to say, ‘I understand’ when she doesn’t and say ‘I love you,’ regardless.”

    “Lord,” said the angel, touching his arm gently, “Go to bed and get some rest. You can finish tomorrow.”

    “I can’t stop now,” the Lord said, “I am so close to creating something unique. Already this model heals herself when she is sick, can put up six unexpected guests for the weekend, wave goodbye to her husband from a pier, a runway, or a depot, and understand why it’s important that he leave.”

    The angel circled the model of the Coast Guard wife, looked closely and sighed, “It looks fine, but it’s too soft.”

    :She might look soft,” replied the Lord, “but she has the strength of a lion. You would not believe what she can endure.”

    Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek of the Lord’s creation.” There’s a leak,” she announced. “Something is wrong with the construction. I am not surprised that it has cracked. You are trying to put too much into this model.”

    The Lord appeared offended at the angel’s lack of confidence. “What you see is not a leak,” He said. “It’s a tear.”

    “A tear? What is it there for?” asked the angel.

    The Lord replied, “It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, loneliness, pride, and dedication to all the values that she and her husband hold dear.”

    “You are a genius!” exclaimed the angel.

    The Lord looked puzzled and replied, “I didn’t put it there.”

    Every time my husband has to deploy and I had our 2-year-old daughter in my arms, because she is crying that daddy has to go away for a while, I remember how important my husband’s job is to keep us all safe and a secure at night! I have been in the store either really late at night or really early in the morning trying to get medicine for her because she has an ear infection or is sick and we have just left the emergency room (after a 3-4+hour wait), having to get up early in the morning to go to work on just a few hours of sleep, if any at all. I am the last thing he sees when the boat pulls away from the pier and the first thing he sees when they come back to the pier! I hold down the home front, being mommy and daddy, nurse, doctor, pharmacist, and more! I have heard the people saying the horrible things because of their lack of knowledge and ignorance, saying how military wives just sit around and do nothing and collect the money that their husband’s make. I turn around to them and (as politely as possible, which is very hard to do) and ask them “Can you make a household run all by yourself because your husband is risking his life to keep ignorant people like you safe? Can you wear numerous hats at one time, and when you tuck your children into bed, read them a story, and explain that, although it’s your birthday tomorrow honey, and you know that daddy really loves you and wishes he could be here, but his job is very important, because he keep little kids like you all over the United States, and sometimes the world, and other mommies and daddies safe and secure, and still be able to function the next day when the kids have had a nightmare and climb into bed with you and you end up on the floor because they push you off, or your one child moves around so much you can’t sleep with hands, feet, heads, legs, arms and butts in your side or back?” Well that’s why I am a strong, patient, amazing, caring, loving, and understanding wife and you are still single!

  11. Thank you Joshua for your service. I always love to have the Service Members point of view on things. Obviously the kind of women I am talking about are married to men like yourself. It’s a team effort and I truly believe you can’t have one without the other. Take care!

  12. Mike ~ I can see you are passionate about your thoughts. I also see you have formed your own opinions living in a Navy town. If you would have read all the comments, I think you would have found my reply to this already.
    This was written years ago for a Submarine Base Newspaper. It is EXACTLY what you stated in your first paragraph. I have already stated, but will repeat for you that this was a “pep talk”. Of course there are those who it wouldn’t apply to. I don’t know of anyone who can address everyone individually without any personal bias. I’m sure at some point in your life you have been given this kind of speech whether it was a commencement or leadership training at a job. Someone stood up and said something along the lines of, “You guys are all amazing at what you do and are the leaders of tomorrow!” I bet not everyone in the room was that incredible. Did it stop the speech from happening? Of course not. If a spouse read this that didn’t fit the bill, maybe they were inspired to do better. Maybe they read it, laughed and threw it away. It was there for the taking if they wanted it. It’s that simple. Let’s not read into it and make it something it’s not. I have written articles on the not so great wife that gives everyone a bad name. i’m sure you will see it here at some point.

    Assuming that I was talking about the Volunteers and not the people I am volunteering for is a mistake. I see a very large part of the military in what I do and no, I wasn’t talking about the volunteers I work with. That large group is filled with every kind of person. And I will tell you that even the so called, “worst” of them, if you could even label someone that way can easily fit what I have said. I didn’t judge the lady in the store, if you remember, I spoke about not blaming her for her quick judgement. I was merely standing up for a woman none of us knew. It as the principle of the act. I would have stood up for you if you were in front of me in line.

    And wow! Insurance, housing, living expenses, etc? I’m sorry to laugh, but that is not true at all. They get a paycheck. They are paid less because the insurance is deducted from what we are paid. Housing is also paid for out of pocket, even if you live on base, and there are no living expenses provided. It sounds like someone sold you a fairy tale alright! So, if there are girls foolish enough to believe that, well that’s on them.

    Again, I’m not brushing anyone off. Read into it what you want. If I was, I wouldn’t post the comments. I could easily delete them and move on. I stand by my comment that the majority of spouses are incredible and I’m proud to stand next to them. They have my upmost respect and admiration. I say this based on my experience, which is more than living in a “Navy Town” and Volunteering. It’s base on years of experience, speaking engagements, spouse clubs, multiple commands and countless functions. Are their bad ones? YES. Do the good outweigh the bad? Abso-flippin-lutly. 😉

  13. Thank you so very much!! I myself am a deployed Coast Guardsmen. I just got married to my bestfriend and am always hoping that she finds a good support group. I take my hat off to the spouses of those who serve this great country, and find that all too often they are overlooked. My newly wed wife is enduring one of the hardest times that she has ever had…not only does she have a full time job, but she takes care of the house, and takes care of all of the finances for our household. We don’t have any children as of yet, but will be working on it, before we know it! I can only imagine the hardships that that will bring. On the average I am deployed oconus over 280 days a year at our current unit. I say ours because “WE” are a team! I hear of military men always talking about where “THEY” want to be stationed at next, but I feel that with a spouse, everybody’s voice is/should be heard. My hat is off to you ladies, YOU ARE OUR BACKBONES, OUR ROCK!!! God bless and may you be recognized for your endurement to be with the men that you love!!

    -Coastie

  14. Thank you! I don’t know how you kept your composure. I would have gone crazy on that woman. I grew up as a child military dependent and we moved 13 times before I graduated and as a kid I loved moving but it’s completely different now that I am a military spouse. Some people are soo ignorant. They don’t understand how hard it is to pick up and move, find a new “career” in every state or country that you move to. You also have to be able to run your house. I know how to change my own oil, rotate my tires, change my breaks and even change the clutch on my car. I mow the lawn and fix the sprinklers every time one breaks. I have a full time job and two dogs to care for. When I find time I try and see some friends or relax. We’re all thousands of miles from any family and don’t always get to talk to our spouses on a regular basis. My husband and I don’t have kids yet because, we were planning to start a family this year while my husband is on shore duty but, he got a surprise IA. We were notified 3 weeks before he left for a year. I don’t know how many woman could do what we do as military spouses. I think most just don’t realize all we do. Thanks again for your post!

  15. I already commented on your blog, which I personally feel is extremely well written. However, after reading through some responses about stay at home moms, I have to respond again. Sure, the poor example can always be highlighted, but I have found this is far from the norm. My wife is a SAHM and is incredible. She works hard to meet the emotional needs of our children and myself. She does the majority of the work involved in taking care of the home as I am only there at night, and certainly not every night. She is busy encouraging other military wives, while needing encouragement herself when I am away for months. She is extremely wise with the budget and handles the finances with brilliance, stretching each dollar. I have great respect and admiration for her. The job she willingly chose is severely underpaid and underappreciated. I refuse to get into the” who has the harder job” argument as I feel it is irrelevant. However, I personally have greater respect for SAHMs than for the CEO of any large corporation.

  16. I thank you and your hubby and family for your service!!! Very nice article,well done!
    I am also a Navy wife-we are now retired (20 Years). So many of us have and do work so hard, but I have also heard comments like this before-I am so glad you said something. Perhaps we should try to match young wives with some of us OLD gals for support??? I was very blessed as a young Navy wife to get some great advice from some seasoned “vets”

  17. For what it’s worth, I think this article is a good thing. It’s a good thing for the military spouses who have trouble dealing with the stigma, have trouble with dealing with moving all the time, have trouble with dealing with the constant uncertainty when their spouse is deployed, or have trouble with dealing with the depression that can very easily grab hold of a person in the blink of an eye…

    This post is wonderful for re-assuring these people. In that regard, I think it’s incredible.

    However. I also think this post does exactly what the woman in the line at the store did. It takes personal experience, personal bias, and makes generalities that in many cases are not true. Sure, not all military wives/husbands are lazy… but all military wives/husbands are also not as strong, passionate, and active as you suggest either.

    You say that you’ve met many a strong “dependent,” many an active “dependent” while out volunteering. Well of course you have. That’s like attending MIT and saying that you know a lot of smart people from school. The volunteers (like you) are probably the cream of the crop. They are the strong husbands and wives that get out and also make the world a better place. The fact that you neglect that there is a (in my opinion, fairly large) group of military spouses that treat the situation as a “meal ticket” is, in my opinion, as short sighted and ignorant as you blaspheme the lady in line at the store of being.

    Sure there’s strong mothers in the military. Sure there’s strong fathers. To make a blanket statement that everyone is this way is just foolish though in my opinion. As with everything (and as with your disgust with the lady at the store), sweeping generalities are often wrong and ignorant. There’s always two ends of the spectrum. While the lady in the store holds one viewpoint, you hold the stark opposite viewpoint, and neither of you is actually right.

    Living in a navy town, I see scads of young girls throwing themselves at young officers hoping for a better life. It’s the modern day Cinderella fairy tale story. Insurance, housing, living expenses, etc. all paid for… and a man in a uniform to boot? What a deal right? There’s tons of women and men that are just along for the ride. The strong women/men (such as yourself) that you describe are but a small cross section of the whole population… and hardly a representative sample set.

    I believe that’s all the other posters who posted views contrary to yours (who you essentially brushed off as brusquely as you brushed off the lady in the store) were trying to say.

  18. I could not have been happier that you wrote this article. As a fiance to a cadet at the Air Force Academy, I have gained much strength through our long distance relationship, and yet I still have much to learn. Your words are nothing short of encouraging and inspiring, and I am proud to be a future Air Force wife. Thank you so much for this article, as well as for your sacrifices and hard work! =)

  19. Well said! My husband is only training right now and have had 11 weeks of being “dependent”. Raising 3 kids alone is no cakewalk y’all! Then when you add your house being tore-up by a tornado…I would have liked to have run into that women in the store. I wouldn’t have been so kind and would have had to pray for forgiveness afterwords. I have so much to learn about what being in the Navy is all about and I can’t wait to meet some amazing women who I know will be anything but dependent.

  20. During the second deployment that year, on a new base, with a new baby, I am traveling to visit my grandparents (with the baby mind you), breaking up the time a little, and a women behind me on the plane is complaining to her seat mate that her husband is on a business trip for two weeks and “what if the a/c stops working, or something happens to the plumbing.” I so wanted to turn around and tell her to put on her Big Girl panties and grow up.

    As an AF wife (and Brat), we suffer many short deployments, which are almost as bad as the long ones. At least with one long one you get into a routine and stay. We are constantly in and out, changing with the wind. But all in all you hit it on the head. If these nay-sayers could just step into our shoes for one week, they would change their tune. Military spouses (you to guys!) are the bomb-digity 🙂

  21. For those who need a clue: Until you have walked a mile in military spouses shoes, you cannot even compare me to a ordinary wife….You may or may not be married, and if you are imagine not being able to see him, touch him, yell at him, laugh with him and so many other things for an entire year and in some cases longer. Imagine being afraid every time someone knocks at your front that its going to be some military service member in their dress uniform to delivery you the news that your spouse was killed in action. Imagine your children having to talk to daddy via web cam on christmas, birthdays and the first day of school…Then you have to comfort that child after that conversation is over when he or she is crying their eyes out because daddy to them is gone again…Imagine having to deal with civilans who don’t have clue what it is like to walk a mile in my shoes…My husband has deployed three times to Iraq and was medivac out of Iraq during his third tour, and in one phone call I was on my way 6 hours drive to Landstuhl Military Hospital with three small children and not a clue exactly what I was going to see when I get there or how to explain this all to my children. I understand that sometimes people say things and don’t have a clue what they are even talking about….I am a hero…To my husband, my children and to those that matter…And to all my fellow military spouses active and reserve I love you all and you are my heros and sheros….I may our spouse continue to fight for the right for some to clueless….

  22. Marie,

    Thank you for your post. As an Active Duty Air Force Officer and being married to a superwoman just like you, I can confirm that military wives/spouses are the backbone that allows people like me to make the sacrifices necessary to preserve freedom. My wife Lisa mowed the lawn while she was pregnant, she has taken care of two small boys–she had an appendectomy 5 days after my first deployment and spent 2 weeks in the hospital. She’s done tremendous things while I’ve been away or working. I owe her in so many ways. She really is stronger than I am–I could not do what I do without her strength backing me up. I am convinced of that.

    Please be vocal. Ignorance is never quiet and keeps to itself, yet those who know sometimes do not answer ignorance. Thank you for answering that ignorant person. It must be done, respectfully, but with vigor!

  23. Marie,

    This is a great article. I am a Navy Reserve wife and even some Navy wives think I’m not an official military wife because my husband only does 1 weekend a month and 2 weeks a year but in the last 2 1/2 years he has only been home a year and is getting ready to go for another year at the end of 2011. But I go through the same things active duty wives go through when my husband deploys for a year at a time through without the support of being on a base with other spouses for support. I’m glad you made light of what we ALL go through.

    Tracey

  24. To Sarah,

    That was a very rude and uncalled for post. I don’t appreciate your uneccessary comments. Who are you to judge a group of people in that manner? Not everyone is perfect, not every military dependant is perfect, and I can’t speak for everyone, but what you said is completely judgemental and cruel. I don’t think or act like I am better than anyone else, civilian or not. I am simply a SUPPORTIVE wife of my ACTIVE DUTY husband. As any wife should be. I am proud, loyal, and committed of what he does and to what extent he does it in. Any wife civilian or not would feel the same if she was happy in the shoes she walks. I am proud of all moms out there that do their duty, take care of their kids, go to work, juggle and multitask on a daily basis.
    I would think again about how hurtful your words are to some. Perhaps you were just having a bad day.

  25. My daughter is a military wife and she is the strongest women I know she has been through more HELL and heart ache, then most women will know In a life time, but she still stands strong and stands by her man. Military Spouse don’t have time to be dependent there to busy raisen there kids keep a some what normal life for there children and supporting there spouses, and at the end of the day they go to bed alone and cry alone. It a shame that I’n this whole mess they have to stand alone.

  26. To Sarah- You, my friend(well actually I am not sure I would want you as a friend), are ignorant. What military wife has said she was a hero? Please give me some sources and prove me wrong. Life in the military is one you obviously know nothing about so if you are not interested in becoming educated in the matter before you speak such nonsense, then do us all a favor and shut it. Marie is wife and mother who happens to be a military wife. She writes about it so that other wives can understand and relate. We are all wives and mothers here Sara and realize that there are wives and mothers who are not military(and we respect them just the same) so what are you trying to get at? Were you crossed the wrong way by some military wife at one time? If so, take it up with her and quit taking it out on other people.

  27. Lea, it’s hard when people assume or judge. I honestly can’t even remember what “Rick” wrote because of the number of comments that come through here and Im not able to view it at this time. Just remember, you don’t have to justify your choice. People, including ourselves, are only guilty of ignorance when assuming or judging someone. How can we get mad at someone for being ignorant? For some it’s not their fault they are uneducated on a subject. And for the few that only want to believe believe to be what they think is real, well, you can’t change their minds. Like I said in the column, I felt initial anger, but once I thought about it…..she didn’t know any better.

  28. I feel the need to recomment now, because someone hit another pet peeve of mine. The assumption that ALL stay at home parents (notice i made sure not to say MOMS here!) are lazy because they do not maintain a job outside of the home. DO NOT begin to judge a group of people if you’ve never lived in their shoes.

    Rick, that is for you if you are still reading. I chose to be a stay at home mom for a few reasons. 1) My husbands income is sunstantial enough to support a family of 4. 2) my job when we had the first child was not worth keeping after the cost of child care. 3) I wanted the oppertunity to watch my children grow and be around for their early growth and learning.

    When my husband was in the National Guard, I think things would have been more stressful on me if I was working outside the home and maintaining the house on my own, but I was not without stress. It still was not easy, and I had plenty of support from his guard base if I needed it. His captain herself lent her time to me on days where I felt overwhelmed. I was grateful for that.

    My point of making another comment was to show, just like Marie, the original blogger, I feel I tend to get labelled unjustly because of my choices. Please Rick, become a stay at home dad, and if you think there is time to be “lazy” still after doing it for a few months, then feel free to let me hear it then.

  29. Sarah-Wow. My first thought when reading this was, “She must not have been hugged as a child!” You are obviously reading into this what you want, and that it completely ok in my book, but why comment? No one said they were better than any other women, wives, mothers, etc. That just silly. No where in this column does it say Military spouses are Heroes or is anyone acting like a Martyr. I’m sorry you are angry inside and feel the need to comment in hateful ways. If I was standing next to you in a store line and someone behind me made comments on your appearance or your lovely choice of words, I would have stuck up for you just the same explaining that we don’t know who you are and what you’ve been through and no one should judge you for a moment of rudeness or hatefulness. I didn’t speak up for the girl because she was a military wife. I spoke up for her because she was a human being.

  30. Military wives are no different than other women. Everyone has their battles its just that military women feel the need to warrant attention and merit for what they do even though it is the same situation or better than millions of other women, wives, and mothers. I have come to find it very obnoxious and rude. I respect what the military does but you aren’t doing it so stop acting like you are heroes. You are no different from other moms or wives. And running away from the woman right after you said something bitchy is just ignorant- you wanted to get your piece in,assume you were right and not listen to any counter arguments. Please stop acting like martyrs, you’re not. Maybe pull your heads out of your asses and look at the people wives and mothers around you and maybe you’ll realize this but I know none of you have the intelligence or maturity to do so.

  31. As a fellow military wife, I would like to say thank you. I enjoyed reading this article and will surely pass it on to other wives. P.S. Good for you for standing up and saying what you did to such an uneducated and ignorant woman. Shame on her. Please though, keep writing!! 🙂

  32. This is awesome. I have been an Air Force wife for 8 yrs. In that 8 yrs I gave birth to a daughter and I’ve been through 3 deployments and countless TDY’s. I went to schools and earned my degrees and was able to worked as well. Its amazing how easily people will judge us, not only for being needy but also how over weight some of us are.

  33. Pingback: We Are Not Dependent « Navy Wife Overboard

  34. Marie,
    Thank you so much for this post! A friend of mine, who is another military wife, posted this on facebook, and I’m so glad I took the time to read this! I too am a Navy wife, and I find it difficult to raise our 15 month old son while my husband is out either deployed or underway. I too become irritated when others call me “dependent”. I served, not very long due to an injury, in the military as well. If I could go back in, I would. The life of a military spouse is not an easy one and I know plenty of people out there who could NOT handle it at all! So many people out there do not give us credit for what we do, and not that we need it, but we DON’T need to be ridiculed and misjudged as being lazy or incompetent. This post has given me a boost of confidence, especially after today. I am tired of being viewed as “another dependent” and looked down on for not being the Active Duty member. Military spouses, male and female, work ten times harder than the average civilian, especially when we are relocated to a foreign area with no one around, and our spouse disappears for a deployment shortly after. God bless all of you and your loved ones. Thank you for all that you do, and for your dedication to this country; those who serve/have served, and those who “silently serve”. (I like that a lot: “silently serve”) =)

    Kristina

  35. Well said! This life is not for everyone, but in my experience (though I guess I could be biased!) military wives are the strongest, most resourceful, and capable women I know.

    This was also a good reminder not to judge people too harshly, whether other military spouses or not- you don’t know their whole story!

  36. I am not a military spouse….and I’ve never thought of anyone that is as anything but a rock. I can say with the utmost certainty that I could not do what you all do (okay okay we all know I COULD if I had to…but thats besides the point) Well done for what you do and well done for speaking up. Ignorance should be faced not ignored, don’t you think?

  37. Pam, Thanks for the comment! 🙂 Dependent isn’t a bad word at all. I’m just “rallying the spouses” with some encouraging words! We could all use a little pep talk now and then. 🙂

  38. Rick, thanks for your opinion. I’ve also been working/volunteering on the bases for years and I still see more strong and phenomenal wives than any other kind. But again, that is just my experience. I see that you feel very strongly to be bringing up divorce and lack of employment since that has nothing to do with this post. Again, lets not read more into this than needed. I agree with you on some of the financial points (I teach them myself) but this post isn’t about any of that. I see that you are frustrated, but lets leave this post as what it is, nothing more. It’s a pep talk. Some spouses need it right now, some will read it and feel nothing. It is what it is. Let’s not make it into a discussion of everything else. : ) Thanks again for your opinion.

  39. Ive only has a small taste of the “military wife” title. My husband was Air National Guard for 6 years. He was deployed once, a few months after our first child was born, and even though it was a short deployment, it was hard to be without him and basically be a “single mom” for that time frame. I tip my hat to all the military spouses going through this day to day and moving around to towns they are unfamiliar with all the time too, I at least had the luxury of being near his family (my family lives in another state) since he was National Guard. The ignorance of some people never fails to amaze me.

    And to those military husbands/dads I dont think this blogger meant any harm by not mentioning you as well!

  40. I agree with Katie 100%. There are military spouses of both sexes that are simply phenomenal and are “cannot-be-stopped” type people. However, they are as rare as 60 degree days in Florida in the summer. No matter how many words are eloquently thrown into a blog will change the fact that many spouses are lazy and the “go-getters” are not the norm. The majority do abuse the system, they abuse their spouses by sitting on their butts at home, and they do spend money their families simply do not have. I’ve seen it. I know you’ve seen it.

    What are the prime reasons for divorce in the military? Sure, deployments suck. Sure, having kids can be hard. Sure, some men are pigs and like to fool around with Thai lady-boys. Money is the #1 cause of divorces. So, if you know this fact and you are a military spouse who is getting ticked at reading this, get off this page and look for jobs. Get off the couch, and go apply for a job. Maybe you and your spouse have agreed that you’ll stay home. Great, more power to you. Then get off your butt and be active in the community. Improve yourself and the people around you. Do not stay home, do a little laundry, do a little dusting, and wait for the kids to come home from school. You have kids at home? Find a playgroup. Rotate the kids around a few other Moms or Dads, so you’ll have time to look for a job, clean the house, volunteer, etc.

    I’ve worked in family support centers for a number of years, and the people with the most issues financially and otherwise are those who have a stay-at-home spouse. They do not have enough adult interaction and are generally stagnant. Stagnant people do not thrive EVER, let alone when they become the 1 of 2 couples who divorces and then they have to start over at 30 or 40 years of age. If you’re angry at this post, it’s because it hit home somewhere. The truth is harsh, and so is this world. Prepare yourself for the “what-if?”. What if he/she leaves me? What if he/she gets kicked out? What if we separate and ‘gasp’, there aren’t any jobs (unemployment rates for veterans is higher than civilians)? What if he/she dies? SGLI will help for a while, and then what?

  41. I had never really thought of the AF term “Dependent” in quite that way… I will never look at it the same way. As a wife of an Active Duty Air Force Chaplain who has been gone since last June on his Remote assignment- I can stand and say I made it! He comes home next month and I’m crying just writing this. This has been a year from hell. We have a daughter who turned 6 while her daddy was gone. He missed her first day of Kindergarten. He missed her first tooth coming out. He missed her learning how to ride her bike. I’m happy to say that she is the light of my life, but I would be lying if I said there wasn’t times this last year that I just needed someone to watch her for me. Yes, she has school- but evenings and weekends it’s all mommy all the time. Now I’m dealing with an overseas move- my very first- all by myself. Followed by driving across the country from Montana to Baltimore with said 6 year old and three cats. I don’t know how you held your tongue with the woman… I for one would have liked to compare my year with hers and then tell her where she can stick her phone! Thank you for a great post. I look forward to more of your posts as this one definitely has me hooked! 😀 Blessings!!

  42. I will definitely be sharing this with the other wives in my husband’s unit! Thank you so much! Many of these wives are going through their first deployment. It is nice to hear when someone has kind words to say about military wives. I moved home for this deployment because I have a very young son. My parents live in a town where the majority of people just have no idea what we are going through, and many people’s first reactions when they saw that I had moved home was, “Did you get a divorce?” It is hard to play the role of mommy AND daddy, but I’m am doing an amazing job of it, and couldn’t be more proud of my Marine!

  43. Thanks Marie for this great blog post. I have been on both sides as the service member and military spouse. My husband and I met in the Navy, and now I am home with the kids and going to school. We have been through 4 deployments together and about 4 months into this deployment. Your lawnmower must know mine. I’ve had some arguments with it and the trimmer 🙂 Thankfully after some yelling, remembering to put in more fuel and reading the operating manual I have been able to keep up with my yard work.
    So many people just don’t understand what military families go through and can be quick to judge. It’s great that you spoke up to that woman. We don’t know what others are going through and while there are those who are lazy, there are many who work hard to keep things running at home while their loved one is deployed.

  44. i’m not a military spouse but xmil i have friends in the service marines and navy and when they get deployed i feel like they are my brothers going away many people dont understand the position a military spouse gets put in your lives is turned upside down but somehow you manage to pull it off everything gets done children taken care of bills paid and every aspect of your life is handled gracefully i just hoped that there was a way to show others the live you lead so they could aleast wear your shoes for one month and then they could talk about it

  45. I’m not a spouse, but my father was in the Air Force for 20 years, and even though he’s retired he’s still in as a civilian. And I can remember weeks upon weeks where he was away TDY. And to hear people talk about military hurts because my dad has been sent to Middle East for a few months a few times, and I can remember being with my siblings and helping my mom stay strong and keep up and continue on every day waiting for him, it’s something I highly appreciate, because its a good example to grow up with.
    Thank you for the blog.

  46. Pingback: Military Spouses are Anything But Dependent « From This Day Forward

  47. Thank-you! That was beautiful. My “best friend” has been gone almost 2 months now and my weed eater wouldn’t speak to me just this week. 🙂 You’ve made my day.

  48. My husband is currently on his 2nd deployment and we have 2 daughters with now a 3rd daughter on the way. There have been times I have been in line my kids are crying for daddy and I’m stressed to the max and it’s only about eh, 0830 and when I pull out my debit card and military ID I hear the sighs and so many times I just want to turn around and rip the rude @$$ behind me a new one, but half the time I am running short on time. You’re blog made my day!! I have had times where I do put them in their place, but seeing that others do the same makes my day!! Funniest comment that pissed me off… I was buying smokes to put in my husband’s care package (I’m almost 7 months so you can tell I’m pregger) and the lady said you know it’s not good to smoke while your pregnant right (well no crap) and I said they are for my husband and she said oh well maybe he should get off his *** and get them himself. I responded with well he would if he wasn’t on a ship going through a deployment. She came back with, well that’s our military always taking away good men from their families, no wonder so many wives cheat. My face turned red and I blew up. I couldn’t believe the stereotypes people have of military wives. Just drives me nuts!

  49. Sarah~Thanks for your perspective, I’m sure it will help others. I’ve “Rallied” with the best of them. Good luck on this deployment, I hope you’ll keep reading. 😉

  50. Thanks for your thoughts Katie. No one is saying anything about our other unsung heros and their spouses. This is a Military Wives Blog giving “props” and a little pep talk to peers. Have you never been given a pep talk or told you are great? Every graduation speech, job trainer, etc that I have been a part of has told the group how great they are, how special they are, and so on. I didn’t say that I needed special attention and I didn’t hear anyone else say it. OF COURSE I think firemen/women and police officers and so on are amazing. But this wasn’t written for everyone, it was writing for my peers. Being in the Military is very different, notice I didn’t say *better*, I said different. There is no comparing things like that. I know this because my father is retired police detective of over 20 years. He also served 4 years in the Navy, they both think this article it great and very true, but they are looking at it the way it was intended. Sometimes it’s hard for others to read it the way it was intended. It can easily be “misread” and interpreted in any way you would like. Just try to see it for what it is, no need to over think it.

  51. Well said! I am the wife of an active duty air force hottie 🙂 although i LOVE all opportunities and benefits we’ve been given by the air force, its been a hard road! We have 4 amazing children, but i’ve been a “single” mom for our entire marriage… we’ve been blessed that my hubby has never had to deploy, but he his job is running the missile field and up until this year, he was gone for 3 to 4 days every week since the beginning of our marriage… We military wives are tough, and intelligent, and compassionate and resilient- anything but lazy! Thanks for sharing your heart!

  52. ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS WRITING! I’m a Navy Brat, rasied by an Air Force Brat & a Marine Corps Brat. I joined the Air Force, have an Air Force husband and 3 Air Force Brats of my own…I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have friends who complain because their husband goes on a business trip for 2 days, and I think to myself “wow, that is hard for them”, as I console a friend in California who is enduring her 3rd (6 month) deployment (and 3 pregnancy). Wives, in general, are amazing creatures…but Military Wives are a cut above the rest…I’m a SAHM, but I am proud to be able to stay with my children…even being a SAHM, I would NEVER call any of us lazy. I’m a taxi, an entertainer, a doctor, a chef, and (according to my older two children) part super-hero. We all are, because we have to be…kudos to you for writing this, I will share it with everyone I know!

  53. Thank you so much for sharing this! I am amazed by how much military spouses are stereo typed, by a group of people who know nothing about the life. And kudos to you for saying something, there are so many of us who just suck it up on a daily basis.

  54. I love this article, I’m a Marine Spouse but I don’t think this article pertains to just one branch. I love this my husband posted this on Facebook. I love it and thanks for standing up if I was there I would have said more. Ignorant people just need to not show their faces in public. Keep it up!!

  55. I disagree completely. I do agree that women who hold actually hold a job and do everything your stating deserve ‘props’, but their are too many women who abuse military privileges. They sit at home and feel they deserve special assistance or attention because their spouse is serving. What about firefighters? Policemen and women? They live a civilized life and risk their lives for our safety everyday too without expecting anything in return. The everyday trials and chores are a struggle for everyone, not just military spouses.

  56. I couldn’t have said this better myself. Wives that are married to the military have the hardest job. My husband, who is an active duty Marine, told me that himself. We have to manage way to much ALONE, and when your husband is gone, we gain responsibility & a lot of worrying. When I hear anyone disrespect the military in anyway, I get just as offended. Its so hurtful to know that there are people out there that are so oblivious and ungrateful to our military, but those who respect us definitely make up for it !

  57. While I would agree with most of the women who posted here…I have to point out the women who give you all a “bad” name. I am military member in my family…as well as mommy, the maid, the cook, taxi, etc. I also mow the lawn, shovel the snow, make home repairs, etc as needed or when my hubby is out of town. I very rarely take a neighbor up on their offer to help me as I am extremely capable of taking care of myself and my five children. But I have had many experiences with dependent spouses who feel the need to call (darn near harass) the military member’s unit for someone to come out and help them with some chore or another (moving a couch, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow). I also find it extremely irritating when that same woman complains that she doesn’t have time for herself, yet seems to “sit around” all hours of the day while her children are at school – her house filthy, and no food in the cubbards, so they eat out all the time…oh, and she and her children are overweight. Lastly, while I appreciate my husband’s support for my career…he does not take my promotion or fitness test for me, he does not deploy for me or write reports for me…and on, and on, and on – because he is not in the military, I am. I don’t credit for his hard work in his civilian job despite my never-ending support for him. Bottom line…it is the few who make up the stereotype and life ain’t fair!

  58. Thank you so much for sharing this. I have a 2 and a half month old son and my husband just left for his third deployment this past Sunday. People don’t think about the reasons behind someone looking “disheveled” and “unkept”. I am rallying like a true army wife does, but I definitely don’t look great doing it. As long as my child is happy and healthy, I think it’s okay to look a little ragged. Any good parent will realize their child is #1 priority… not their looks. I’ll do my best to get ready, but my kid comes first, not my curling iron. So there are many times I’ve gone to the grocery store without getting ready. I am the only military wife among my friends, and although they try their best to understand and relate, it’s an impossible thing to do. It’s an extremely lonely life to lead, yet if I could go back in time I would choose the exact same path I’m on right now. You can’t pick and choose who you fall in love with. The sacrifices are well worth the rewards. I am so impressed with the way you handled yourself. I don’t know if I could have been so cool and collected in a similar situation. Bravo.

  59. I went from Marine brat to Marine to Marine wife. Describing the lifestyle of a military spouse– wife or husband, doesn’t matter –as “lazy” has to be the most offensively inaccurate description ever.

    You’re absolutely right, Marie, it’s quite often the military member of the relationship that is more dependent on their spouse. Being the stay-at-home mom meant that I had to deal with Tricare, renewing ID cards, updating base stickers, the housing office, plus all the extra deployed duties such as looking after his finances, registering his car for him, care packages, etc.

    I know there are plenty of people out there with negative attitudes about ‘dependent’ spouses, hopefully a few of them were set straight by this.

  60. Thank you so much for writing this and for standing up for all of us Military Wives. My husband is on his 3rd tour and while it is not the long tours it is still more than just a couple of months. We have been married since 1998 and he’s been enlisted since 1997. His very first time leaving we were in a foreign country for less than a year and had two children under the age of 5. No family anywhere near it was a very difficult time but we managed and survived. The next one was also while we were stationed overseas and this time I managed to dislocate my knee while he was gone, he missed our daughters first steps, and my son was at a age where he needed daddy more than mommy. It’s hard being both when they are deployed but it’s nice knowing the support we have from fellow spouses. I would not change a thing if I could go back! These experiences have made me a stronger person and my husband and I closer together. Thank you again!

  61. I hope that’s it Sarah. 🙂 For some reason it is easier making friends and leaving them when they are military bc they expect it. We don’t feel *as* bad. I think we huddle for survival. We do get judged by some and it makes us want to put up walls. Keep being yourself and those women will either notice how sweet you are are miss out on a great friend! 🙂

  62. Thanks for the reply Marie. I really appreciate your perspective because I had not thought of it that way before. I have noticed that military wives are generally good at getting to know people quickly. I think you might be right that you are protecting yourselves somewhat by not forming close friendships because you have had to say goodbye so much in the past. I had felt that maybe it was something I was doing that made it impossible to be a part of the “club”, but maybe it really is this fact. I will continue to do my best to be as good a friend I can be and know that it is nothing personal if things aren’t reciprocated! Thanks for the insight 🙂

  63. Sarah, I hope that isn’t the case. I know I have had civilian friends and even though it can be hard to relate, I know my biggest problem is knowing I will leave them. So, for some of us it is hard to open up and get close after having sad/bad experiences. I’ve actually had civilian women tell me that they’d rather not get “too close” because they know I’ll move away. It’s just hard, not impossible. We’re just a little guarded sometimes. But, I can only speak for myself. I hope that you take what I say into consideration. Maybe those women are just a little bit like me. 🙂 Thanks for the great comment and I hope the women around you see how great of a person you are.

  64. Sandra ~ Thanks for the comment! I don’t know how you can marry anyone BUT your best friend! 😉 Glad you found my blog:)

  65. Thank you so much Chris for the kind words. I love your outlook and I hope others listen to what you are saying works for you! : )

  66. Rebekah, lol the extra screw thing happens more to my husband than me! But made me laugh so hard because I get it. I do have some stories coming about “Murphy’s Law”, deployments, and what we experience. Fun times. 😉 Thanks so much for writing this great comment! 🙂

  67. Kitt, thanks for the comment. There is a huge difference between being a dependent and being dependent. I am sure you’ve seen both in milspouses! Thanks for taking the time to write. 🙂

  68. Stay at home Dad~ First, I love your comment. It’s not bragging. You bring some great points and I love that. I hope you will read my other comments to male spouses. I did write this years ago as a sub wife for other sub wives. This was meant for both sexes, but since I was on a submarine base writing for submarine wives, I did tell the story with “she” and “her” etc, bc it made it relatable to the women I was writing for. If this was going to be sent around the world to so many other people, it would have been written differently. Know that it was meant for you too. 🙂

  69. Wow, Toby, you must not have read the earlier comments, which I understand because they are getting a little long. 🙂 The title is referring to both…however, this was written years ago for a submarine base newspaper. If I wrote it for a “international” level as it has become, it would have been different. I was a sub wife, writing for sub wives. There were no male spouses. So, the story was told based on what was happening in that moment. Nothing more. With old traditions come old habits. People use the tern “military wives” out of habit. Again, coming from a submarine world, until now there were no military husbands, so of course people still say “wives”. It is what it is. Now, if everyone keeps calm, you see that this was written in 07-08 and since then I have written a number of articles even some dedicated JUST to the male spouse. I’m slowly adding content and older columns each day. Those are still to come. 🙂 No worries. And to say it again, Milspouse are milspouses….I don’t think anyone sees a certain gender. I know I don’t.

  70. Birdie~ lol, wow. I hope no one is actual upset by the word dependent. As I’ve said, I completely agree and see why the Military refers to us as that. I hope no one is interpreting my “pep talk” as feminist claptrap garbage!” That would be hilarious. My Column name is merely a play on words, meant to be funny. 🙂

  71. Love love love your article. Lucky for me, my husband is my best friend as well and never fails to communicate the fact that he is proud of the work that I do while he is gone and always thanks me for his achiements as he agrees, he wouldn’t/couldn’t be successful if we didn’t have each other.!!! I am usually the one that wishes she would have said something after the fact but you did it and so proudly and I found that was very refreshing to read. I look forward to reading more from you.

  72. Excellent article. My wife and I are what I prefer to call interdependent. She is an incredible lady who does so much, whether I am home or away. I agree with your husband, I certainly could not do this without a strong, supportive wife. I often have to remind folks that WE get deployed, not just myself. As a stay at home mom, she works tirelessly to provide emotional support to our four children, take care of the home, the car, budget, etc. I often tell her that we, not I, earn a paycheck. I am thrilled you spoke up to educate one who clearly does not understand how valuable you and other military spouses are to this nation.

  73. Thank you for standing up for all of us…I get tired of hearing people stereotype all of us no matter the branch! I woke up this morning and the link to this article was posted on the Air Force wives support page I’m a part of on facebook. My husband is currently doing a remote tour right on the heals of a deployment to the middle east, by the time this tour is over he’ll have missed 18months of seeing our kids grow up in two years time. We made the choice for the kids and I to move on to our follow on base prior to him leaving. It saddens me that people who have never walked in our shoes can have such a negative view of us and can’t seem to step back and think about what we might be facing! It’s always nice to read about other spouses from different branches defending all of us. I had to laugh about the lawn mower and trimmer because last summer with in 3 weeks of my husband leaving all of the smoke detectors had to be replace in one week(housing thought I was just complaining to complain) and the motor on our dryer died. But between my mom(a retired military spouse) and another air force wife we took the entire dryer apart and replaced the motor! We may of had a few extra screws left over(no clue where they were suppose to go) but my dryer works just as well as it did before. I know I’m not the only one out there with stories like that and it just goes to show we are anything but dependent!

  74. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!! You could not have written it better! I am a proud wife of a Marine but we always say we are a team and together we are doing this. He might be the one out of the front lines but I am the rock that keeps the homefront going. This hits the nail on the head, just a little glimpse into the reality of what it takes to be a military wife! 🙂

  75. I really take great offense to anyone calling me dependant. The only thing I depend on is my husband love and loyalty and to come home safe to my arms. I AM currently a stay at home mom and I’m in school full-time. The reason I stay home is because I ONLY breastfeed and I personally don’t think it’s fair to my son to barely see either of his parents. To be a stay at home mother is a hard choice and it’s not something to be put down. It takes a great deal of your ego being put aside and letting someone financially take care of you. I worked 16 hour shifts until I was 7 months pregnant and have held a steady job since I was 14 years old and I am now currently 32.. Call ME lazy…I dare you

  76. I am so sorry that some people are so ignorant. I am not a military wife, but I have nothing but repect and admiration for all service members AND their wives for the sacrifices they make. Thank you for this very intelligent and heartfelt post. I am just so sad that some people can be so disrespectful to people that give and do so much. thank you for you and your husband’s sacrifice and hard work for our country.

  77. I’ve been an army guard wife for 17 years and have been through four out of five of my husbands deployments. Though I haven’t had to endure the moves, living in general population though the years, I have heard it all from naive neighbors and so called friends who have no clue. I have even been looked at like a freak when suggesting the wives become more independent by learning how to do things around the house themselves rather than relying on their husbands to do the work (I’m sure some of those wives were in abusive relationships but couldn’t leave because they were so dependent).
    And thank you for your comment about need and want in military marriages. My husband was supposed to stay behind as rear detachment during the last deployment while we tried to adopt our 3rd child. Unfortunately the soldier who was supposed to go in his place retired forcing him to go and putting our plans on hold. While he was TDY before the deployment, I was planning a surprise party for his 40th birthday. Afraid I would give something away, I guess I was kind of cold on the phone with him when he would call. He finally asked me one night if I was divorcing him. I had a hard time convincing him that I wasn’t. After the party, I explained that I didn’t need him, I stayed with him because I wanted him and that is what has made our marriage so strong.

  78. I couldn’t even finish reading before I had to share this on FB (somebody else posted this link on there). I was “h**l yeah”ing mentally through the whole thing. Amen! Lots of people feel since we are milwives we sit at home watching soaps & eating bonbons. For the vast majority that isn’t the case & you told “them” well.
    For Cristina, I’m a SAHM by choice & by his hours-childcare for 2 kids that makes it worth working & a job that would work around his schedule (he’s in a Basic Training unit) & my kids’ sports schedules is virtually impossible to find. SAHM does not mean SOMA (sit on my …) tho-I am a volunteer on post, I craft from home for extra income, I refinish furniture for fun, I run my house so my hubby can run his company…
    I don’t know the stats on SOMAs here on our post but I’m sure if I looked for them I could find several. I choose to look for the awesome Superwoman-without-a-cape sort of wives to hang with instead.
    Thanks again, Marie, for an awesome column.

  79. The bitchy part of me would have loved to turn around and bitch slap the shit outta that lady.
    But then again…I would have had my kids with me, and what kind of a role model would I be if I did that?? But how rude of that lady!
    7 years, 4 kids, 2 jobs, and a college degree on it’s way, is anything but lazy. I may not be employed right now, but I was and will be again. I am educated. I am everything a mother and military wife should be.
    Shame on that lady for making such a judgemental call.

  80. Bravo. I am an Air Force wife. Our last station was in Tacoma WA where, frankly, people don’t need or like the military there. We had days when we weren’t allowed to leave the base due to threats towards anyone with a decal on thier car. I heard comments like this all the time. Usually I’d tell them that they couldn’t walk one day in my shoes and I’d love to see them try and leave it at that. I agree, I don’t like being referred to as or feel like a dependent. When someone asks me if I’m active duty or dependent, I say, I am a spouse. I love my husband, and I am happy to support him. It means more than you think to have folks like you out there changing the stereotype. Thank you for what you do. 🙂

  81. I just got introduced to your blog, and well said. I’m not sure I could have used so much constraint!

    I, too, get disturbed by this warped image of military spouses. Granted we all know that there are lazy military spouses out there; however, there are SO many lazy civilians, too. But the one thing I know is that you should never judge a book by it’s cover. I go out in my pj’s when I’m sick or exhausted – however, I’m a disabled veteran, I’m working on my Master’s degree, and I have the Presidential volunteer award b/c of all the hours I do volunteer work. Granted my life is a little simple b/c I don’t have children, but dang. Just b/c someone doesn’t get all dolled up to go to the quickie-mart down the street doesn’t mean they are a LAZY spouse!! Good for you for saying something.

  82. I loved this article. It was passed along by another army spouse and I read it right away. However, after reading it I felt I had to add that being a male military spouse is just as difficult. The lonliness is just as tough for me but the outside perceptions make everything ten times worse. I don’t want to minimalize what female spouses endure, but at least wives, as is demonstrated in the comments, will band together for support, and, fair or not, many people see it as a duty to help the wives/moms stuck stateside during deployments. But men, why, they’re men, and obviously don’t need any help.

    I know there aren’t a lot of male military spouses, but that doesn’t matter much to me. What is difficult is how hard it is to fit in in the military community. I don’t really fit in with the other male soldiers, nor the female stay at home parents, nor the working spouses. My wife has been at training for the past 5 months and wont be home for another month. During this time I have been taking care of the kids and house, etc, as well as being an emotional rock for my wife. I’m not whining or bragging, just pointing it out because in the past 5 months no other army spouse and only one male soldier has contacted me to see how I’m doing. In the past months, I’ve learned how to potty-train a girl, use cream rinse and braid hair by googling it. I worry about a nine-month old who insists on rolling over to his belly in the bath, a terrible two-year old girl who would rather I not hold the baby and an eleven year old young man who is too old half the time and too young the other half.

    But that’s part of the job. I love it. Every minute of it. I was a single parent once before. You can learn to do that. And I knew that I would have to learn a lot of new things as a military spouse, but I was never prepared to be alone. That’s the worst thing of all. No one to share the joy or the sadness. I miss my wife.

  83. Thank you! I have felt the same way…but it’s sometimes comments about my husband. One day I was on the roof covering a leak…in the rain. Later that day at home depot a man heard me asking the associate about fixing it…the eavesdropper looked at my wedding ring and commented that my lazy husband should get on the roof and fix it…yep…he sure did! I not-so-kindly told him my husband would be on the next flight home from Iraq if he knew I was on the roof of our 2 story home! Then I smiled and told him I would be getting a 10% discount that day because my husband was protecting his right to be an idiot!

  84. I admire you military wives greatly. I am not a military wife myself, but live in a neighborhood very close to a military base and have gotten to know some of the military wives my age as neighbors. I have a lot of respect for you all, but I do have one issue. Despite much effort on my part, I have gotten the impression that I can never truly be close friends with a woman if her husband is in the military for the sole reason that my husband is not. I understand that you ladies may feel that all civilian wives cannot possibly understand what you go through, but give us a chance. I have lived apart from my husband while he took the job 1,000 miles away. My entire family lives over 1,000 miles away and I know what it feels like to be utterly lonely and to do everything for myself. I have nursed my husband emotionally and physically when he had multiple amputations on his hand from an accident. I know what it feels like to be completely broke when my husband gets laid off because the economy could not support his position anymore and to have a mortgage, bills, and tuition due (this the same time as the accident). I know that my statement is a bit of a stereotype, but remember that us civilian women have incredible challenges that are both similar and different than those military wives face and we could be of great help to each other if given the chance.

  85. As someone who knows quite a few military wives, I couldn’t agree with you more on this one. Know that I and so many other women out there are truly in awe of what you do every day!

  86. This article was so refreshing to read because there are so many times I feel like I’m not strong enough or maybe I’m weak because I get so emotional and frustrated with the lifestyle we live and with raising a 7 month old practically on my own. My husband is not currently deployed but he is a drill sgt and works over a hundred hours a week which leaves me as the sole care giver to our son the majority of the time. Being a new mom, there are times I am just too exhausted to dress nice or fix my hair to run to the store for a couple items, so I just go in sweat pants and no make up. I am so glad you acknowledged the military wife from this perspective. This article gave me a boost of self confidence and reassured me that I am a strong woman and I know that I do everything I can to help keep our family together. We do sacrifice so much and every military family member should be proud of the sacrifices they make!

  87. I got so excited when I read the words “military spouse” in the title. I’m thinking “maybe this is the one.” But no. It’s wife this and wife that and she this and her that. I’m just about sick of reading about military “wives.” It is one of the most sexist terms out there, for men AND women.
    It doesn’t take female anatomy to be supportive or to be married to a soldier.
    I ask that you keep that in mind as I care for three kids while my wife serves 12 months in Iraq.
    SPOUSE people…..SPOUSE!

  88. Eh, I take no offense whatsoever at the word “dependent” used to describe family members of active-duty servicemen. It’s appropriate as it is what we are – we are literally dependent on our husband’s livelihoods in the military. There is nothing wrong with that, and to say different is to buy into a bunch of feminist claptrap garbage. However, being the “dependent” of an active-duty member does not make us “incapable.” On the contrary, we are as capable as our badass husbands. And anyone who has walked the walk knows how badass you have to be to be a military wife. The rest of the uniformed masses just don’t matter. Don’t pay them any mind by buying into some victimhood labeling.
    Sign me:
    Been there, done that, bought the “gave-birth-to-4th-child-on-the-warzone-deployment” Navy wife T-shirt.

  89. The ladies in my military community have a silly way of putting it: “Husbands are a luxury item, not a necessity” You can’t need them or you will fall apart but you can love, respect, honor and support them, and I see it done everyday. Cheers ladies!

  90. Leslie~I saw it could go either way and was *trying* not to assume. I hope if Cristina wants to, she will comment again. I won’t let anyone attack her….like I said, she brought up great points.

  91. Leslie, All I can say is thank you for such a wonderful comment. I am so glad that you shared this with me. It warmed my heart. Yes, I could easily pick and choose what comments are posted, but that isn’t fair to readers. Points need to be brought up and call it a gut feeling, but there is a lot more to Cristina’s story. I was a single Mom working two jobs when I met my husband and if I wasn’t a military wife, I would look in and see a different picture as well. We’ve all been judged, it doesn’t feel good and we all walk away saying the same thing….”If they only knew what I go through, or if they could walk a mile in my shoes.” I don’t expect to change peoples minds that differ from my own. I just hope that they show respect and never write to hurt anyone. Then, I would block a comment. Luckily, in all the years I’ve been writing, I’ve never had to. I want people to talk…sometimes I write about things just to GET people to talk. 🙂 As you’ve noticed, this is exactly what some peers needed and that’s why it was written. I’ve held too many hands, stayed up with crying wives, and listen to so many stories. It was needed. Thank you again. 🙂

  92. Marie, I re-read Cristina’s comment and I believe she is stating that 99% of the wifes are stay at home, NOT that 99% are bad wives/mothers, because she then states she sees how “some” of them are.

  93. Marie, I posted the comment below to a friend’s, Beth, FB page where she had posted a link to your story. Beth was a military kid and is now a proud military spouse whose husband is currently away. I’m now a grandmother, and Beth is my oldest daughter’s friend & mine. 😉 This was my comment to her and I realized you needed to hear it, too. From my heart:

    “Beth, this one got me. My Dad was in the Navy 30 years. My Mom took care of 5 of us during 25 of those years and I was born as my Dad was off the coast of North Carolina heading on a 6-month cruise. He saw me for the first time when I was 6 months old. Three of us were teenagers when my Dad was in Viet Nam for two tours and Mom had her hands fuller than full. Over decades of working, I would hear people complain about having to travel somewhere for a week and I used to think to myself “they have no idea.” I know you know exactly what I’m talking about from a “dependents” point of view not only as the child, but as the spouse. Here’s a HUGE THANK YOU to every person who chooses to serve their country, and the families who love them.”

    Marie, I would also like to say that my Mom never complained and my parents put a good spin on every move we made, no matter how challenging it might have been at the time, no matter how lonely it was for all of us to be separated so much and to yet again move away from our friends. Being military kids taught us to be strong, resourceful, resilient, to look out for each other, and to never give up. We learned that from watching our parents and all the other military families with whom we were lucky to be stationed. My Dad’s former navigator was a POW for 7 years in the Hanoi Hilton and and all the traits I mentioned above — his wife and daughter had them in spades.

    Marie, your article was wonderfully written. Thank you for saying what I’m sure your “dependent” peers needed to hear. I’m glad you kept Cristina’s comments in, as I think she has a good point that is lost in the 99% comment, and I can imagine what it must be like for her as well. There’s always room for differing opinions, and you handled it well. Keeping you ALL in my thoughts. Leslie

  94. Proud Sub Wife~ My hat’s off to you. You are a been there, done that, got the t-shirt wife and I really appreciate your comment. 🙂 I know other wives will enjoy it as much as I do! Thanks so much for writing. I agree with you completely.

  95. Stephanie~Engaged counts! Congratulations! Welcome to the club. 🙂 It’s very hard to explain to someone what we do, I see you know that now! Thanks so much for the kind words and taking the time to write. I hope you’ll keep reading my blog and I hope to hear more from you again soon. 🙂

  96. I have been married to a submariner for almost 19 years and I am glad to see that someone else feels the same way about the stereotype that has been assigned to spouses. For so many years I heard comments about how nice it must be to sit around eating bon bons and watching soap operas all day long while my husband goes away for months on end.

    When asked what my job is, I claim to be a full time mother, part-time father, business owner and full time student as well as mechanic, nurse, plumber, tutor, landscaper, and whatever other job requirements come about each day day.

    For all those that think we as spouses sit around doing nothing, think twice before stereotyping. I have two teenage children that are both on the honor role, actively involved in sports and extra curricular activities. This is in addition to being a full-time student as well as the owner of a small business. When combined with the daily routine, any of those “emergency” situations (which are guaranteed to happen the minute the boat pulls away from the pier) such as the car breaking down, the toilet clogging, the refridgerator dying, sick or injured kids, emergency calls from back home etc. I can promise you, there is very little time in my life for relaxation let alone for bon bons and soap operas.

    I was very independant when I met my husband and continue to be today. Forgive me if I have a day or two here and there where I want to be lazy. Yes, I may go to the grocercy store at 7:30 am dressed in less than my Sunday best, but what you do not know is that I was up all night before helping my child cram for final exams, while fixing the air conditioner and doing the laudry that did not get done last week because we all had the flu.

    Yes this is the path I chose for my life when agreeing to marry my husband. Although we may think we know what we are getting into when saying “I do”, we really have no idea.

    With all that said, I can honestly say if I was given a do over, I would do it all again and not change a thing. Each and everyday with all that we experience has only made our relationship evern stronger!

  97. hey Marie,
    i was jus reading your article and i really loved it.. I admit i’m not a military wife yet.. i’m engaged. But, i’m doing everything one would.. When i first got into this relationship, I admit that this would be so easy.. But a year and a half later I find that i’m wrong.. My fiance deployed a month and a half ago and i’m takin care of his 5 children along with my one.. Its so hard to take care of everything by myself.. I have to answer all the kids questions about why there father isn’t here. And you pretty much no the rest. We live on post and I do see alot of women that arent that great of wives and then there are some I feel so inspired by. I love my fiance with my everything and he is my best friend and can’t wait to have the pleasure to be his wife and have the wonderful title of being and army wife. You women are completly awesome

  98. Ha! Thanks Erin. I don’t know when people became so judgmental. It’s so sad. And you are not the first spouse that I have heard say it is easier to leave than to be left. I’ve known a number of dual active duty spouses and they all same the same thing. I’m all talk (seriously)…I would never make it in a bar fight. but if I was, I’d want someone like you by my side. lol 😉 Thanks for the laugh and I hope you keep reading! 🙂

  99. Rock on, Marie. We’ve got 5 kids (3 born without Dad) and I guess if that woman saw me out and about she would put me in the “sit at home waiting for her husband having babies” category, but if I had overheard her comments she would have left the store with the phone up her rear. I am also in the unusual position of having been on both sides of the deployment coin, and both my husband and I can tell you, it’s so much easier to be the one gone than the one left behind. I even had the experience of being shunned by a CO’s wife while I was active duty- she said I “didn’t count.” We are now on our 5th “full” deployment with several half-sies thrown in in not quite 11 years. Also working our 3rd geobachelor assignment, but now that he’s out again- 3 months earlier than planned- it doesn’t matter so much.

  100. Cristina I really do appreciate your comment. And I greatly appreciate your service to our country. I would never “criticize” anyone for their opinion. This is my personal blog and you came across something I wrote and felt so passionate about it that you needed to comment, so obviously you must really feel strongly. Like I said above, this is my personal blog written only through my eyes with my opinions. My opinion differs from yours and that is ok.

    Of course there are “bad wives” there are also bad service members, but that would never stop me from making a statement like, “Our service men and women work hard to protect our Country” or “Our service men and women are incredible for their sacrifices.” We both know that there are service men and women who do everything to get out of doing their job, serve for the wrong reasons, and are not incredible.

    So, anyone can pick apart something, but this is based on my experience of being a military spouse of over ten years. I have volunteered, work with, and met hundreds upon hundreds of military spouses. I personally know many wives who live/lived in upstate NY and 99% is a pretty big percentage to assume are “not good mothers or military wives” as you stated. It reminds me of my children when they tell me that they would like a particular item stating, “But Mom, EVERYONE has one!” lol I don’t know these women you are referring to, but unless you live with them, you can’t know what is going on. Just like I would never assume what your situation is. And the fact that they are Stay at home Mom’s isn’t a bad thing at all. So, maybe you didn’t mean it to come across that way. I’ve been a stay at home mom for years and I’m extremely proud that my husband works hard so that I can be. I personally would never have had children if I couldn’t stay home with them. It was a priority to me. I know no everyone has the choice and I would go back to working in a heart beat if my family needed that income.

    I am sorry if I am wrong and you do feel that 99% of the women around you are SAHM’s and are not good people. To me, a military spouse is anything but dependent, but it is their choice to act on it. It’s the name of a column I have in a paper, it’s not going through the house and senate as a bill….no need to over think it. **I hope no one gives you a hard time for your thoughts. A good debate and talking back and forth is one thing, but I will not approve a post that in any way shape or form are meant to criticize or hurt someone. You are entitled to your opinion. 🙂

  101. I know I will get critiziced for this, but not all military spouses are like you mentioned, I live in military housing in upstate NY, and 99% of the women are stay at home wives/moms and I see first hand, how some of these women are, and they do not deserve to even be mention as good military wives or mothers for that matter. And please don’t tell me that I don’t understand, because I’m serving my country and I’m also a single parent (not by choice, it simply didn’t workout) so I kind of understand where that woman was coming from, but I also will say that before you talk bad about someone, you should know the facts first, so what ever the situation about the girl in pajamas was, we don’t know, but please do not say that all military spouses are not dependent that is simply not true, some of the military wives I see, just make me wanna pull my hair out, and go to them and tell them “I don’t feel bad for you, I’m serving my country and I’m also a mom, I pull double duty and I don’t complain, so suck it up” now go ahead and critize

  102. WOW!! This is something I really needed to read right now. I have been an Active Army “DEPENDANT” for 10 years total now. I have only known being an Army Wife. We are now looking at medical retirement and I have been lost. I dont think that I would be who I am today if I hadnt been down this road. I was raised by my father so I thought I was self suficient enough. Nope!! I have had to learn the little things. the heartache you feel when they leave, the faces of your children when Daddy leaves. Nothing in life can prepare you for what you learn as a SPOUSE in the military. I know now that I can do this just in reverse so to speak! My brother though is one that is on the other side of this though. My sister in law is the one Active Duty. He is raising 2 boys while she is gone. It has been kinda funny with having my big brother in the position that I am also in. It has given us that chance to become close!! I wouldnt trade anything in this world to do it all over again! I have been that Mom, Wife at the shopette or Walmart at 7:30 in PJs!!!

  103. Pingback: Military Spouses are Anything But Dependent | The Moderate Voice

  104. Meghan, Thanks for the comment and kind words! There is a kinship and it is one of the biggest perks to this life! Good luck on your newest addition and I hope you are getting some sleep! 😉

  105. Katie~What an interesting comment! I’m sure those unhappy moments with his job pass, but if not, there are ways to exit the military. I can’t imagine my husband feeling that way and still showing up to work. No one should be there unless they want to be. I’m sure it is hard to hold your tongue and not be “momma bear”! lol It’s hard, but I’m sure your husband can handle it. 😉 The wacky schedule is relatable for all of us…definitely part of the job, but not easy!

  106. Judy Thanks for the comment and kind words! 🙂 Wow, a son in the Navy too!? I can’t even imagine. I am sure that you are one very proud wife and mother. You have obviously done something right by how you describe his Mother’s Day phone call. I think it’s also amazing how strong a marriage can be made while serving. The closeness, trust, and unconditional love a support gives us all a solid foundation (if we want it). Thanks again!

  107. I think this article was GREAT!!!!! Thank you! I have been a Navy wife for 7 years and 3 deployments and am about to give birth to our second child while my husband is out on deployment! It made me feel good that there is a kinship between military spouses and NO ONE can understand our world unless they have live in our shoes! Again I thank you!!!!!!

  108. I think the hardest things about being a military wife is dealing with the bureaucracy and ‘politicking’ you often find in units and squadrons, supporting my husband though that emotionally when he knows he can’t just walk away and find a new job, and that these people are never going to get called on the carpet (more likely, they’ll get promoted!) I’m like a momma bear and want to go in and roust out the people who don’t do their job or stir up trouble. And then the loneliness that accompanies the wacky schedule you have to accept along with your spouses job.

  109. Marie,
    I loved your column! Especially the description of your marriage – my husband and I feel the same way. He has been in the Navy 22 years now and we’ve been married just over 20. He has always said he could never have done this job without knowing that I was a strong, capable woman back at home taking charge of everything that needed to be done. Our oldest son made the sweetest comment to me, Matt is a plebe at the Naval Academy, and when called to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day – he said “Dad showed me who to be, you showed me how”! It didn’t take away anything from either his father or I but rather highlighted the team work. My husband is currently on his 11th deployment and while the Navy may call me a “dependent spouse” I know with that much sea time I’m anything but!

  110. as a navy wife of 15+ years, mom of 2, survivor to too many deployments and underway periods, I appreciated your blog post. I found my way here via a facebook link from one of my fellow navy wife friends. We spouses have to be tough and handle a lot when they are gone and it’s a good thing to support each other, good for you for standing up to that woman on the phone.

  111. Pingback: Defining “Dependents” « Call Sign Mommy

  112. I am a fairly new military wife and so am still learning what it takes, but this article really touched my heart!!! Thank you so much for putting into words the many feelings I have had. I will save this article for a long time. Thank you for writing it and sharing!

  113. Sarah, I can’t say it enough, these are great comments. I love how it affects everyone differently and feelings are brought out. 🙂 Thank you for reading and I hope you’ll continue to follow this blog! 🙂

  114. Your story is truly inspirational. Many times I find myself biting my tongue about things I would normally rip someone apart for. Trying to make an image for myself not one that includes a psychotic person. I grew up speaking my mind and it didn’t get me very far, but to this day there are some things that I cannot shut-up about. I think it is our duty as military spouses to stand up for each other. I am a very independent person, but I have a support system through my closest friends and my husband. It is hard enough having my best friend gone most of the time, but when you love someone that much it is worth it. I challenge someone to question me as be dependent. I can gaurantee you that I have accomplished more than the average 20yr old and I have done it yes with some support, but not the support a normal young adult would have. I left my family and friends behind and moved 2500 miles away from them to a place that I know no one. I left a stable job, a four year scholarship, the medical school I wanted to got to, everything I had worked hard for so that I could be here with my husband. Too bad he is never home lmao. Can you really call us dependent? Really look at someone who has no family close enough to come help, who lives by themselves most of the time raising kids or just taking care of themselves, someone who struggles to make the payments and upkeep a household, who works and goes to school full time while their spouse is risking their life for our freedom. We live our everyday lives with out the help of others how can that be dependent?

  115. Loved the article! You are so right about that “spouses” do many things on their own. Whether it be having children to taking care of the home(where ever it may be) or sick kids. I have been with my husband the whole time he was in the Navy and shortly after he joined we married. A month after we married he was deployed for 6 months. We have been married now for 9 1/2 years. Been through many deployments and underways. Military spouses lives do not stop when they deploy. We have to take everything on ourselves when we lose our best friend. At times, its like the drop of the dime when they are told they are going underway and plans that might have been made has to get changed. I know what I have been through and some of my great friends that I have met along this journey and it just always seems that the worst happens when they are gone. I have had a miscarriage when he was deployed the first time and was on bed rest for 2 months and was also going through many tests and being diagnosed with MS on another deployment. I never stopped my life cause I couldnt wait to start my life with my sailor again when he returned. I think all of what has happened to me and all of my great friends along the way has made me a better, stronger person. My dad did 20 years in the navy and I married at 18 to my wonderful sailor whom has all my support, so yeah I pretty much have been somehow involved with the military my whole life. I go to school full time now with my husband deployed and taking care of 3 children and I watch my nephew a few days a week and all the other things that we all have to take care of to keep our home and support our husbands when they get depressed cause they are missing their kids and home, and I feel like I do a great job and being “LAZY” is far from it. I will proudly say that “I am a MILITARY DEPENDENT” but I am far from being “dependent” of my husband. Although he is our supporter for the family at the time, but us military spouses learn and will always find a way to get things done and make sure everything is taken care of.

  116. Matthew, Thanks for the comment. As I said earlier to Stacey’s comment, I wrote this years ago for a Submarine Base Newspaper. I completely agree with you and that is why it is titled “spouses” not “wives”. But when I told the story, I wrote it from a submarine wife’s point of view for a submarine paper. In our little world, there were no male spouses. But, that too is changing! 🙂 I do know a few male spouses and I have never heard of them complain about support. I’m sorry that your friend is having an issue. It sounds a little more complicated than jut being a male spouse. I see this happen with wives when husbands say there are problems. Information can be withheld, and some assistance. It has nothing to do with gender. Have him go to The Fleet and Family Support Center if he feels he is being treated unfairly. Good luck!

  117. Marie I really liked you column. I would just say spouse is the word here. This also stand for the Men of Military wives. In fact sometimes it can be even harder for these civilian men. There is a good support system for the wives of military men but not such a good one for the men. I have a friend who is taking care of his 2 kids while his wife is deployed and he does not have much support from the military. In fact at this time is wife has made it difficult for him to get any help. She has told the military they are not liking together (which is not true) and so the military will not give him any info or support. I know this is more info than some people would like but I just wanted the let you know about the men of military wives.

  118. Scott, first, thank you for your 30 years of service! I tend to drift towards Master Chiefs at functions because they have the best stories, by far! 😉 What an awesome perspective you have now. Thank you so much for taking the time to write. And your wife deserves all the praise that you gave. It sounds like you are married to an incredible women. She is also very lucky to have you so willingly switching roles while she goes after her dream! This is a great story. I put my schooling on hold to follow my husbands career. My goal is to become a pediatrician. I know my husband will support me in the same way and I have to say that you are both pretty amazing men for that. As a milspouse yourself, I hope you’ll follow my blog now! 😉

  119. Marie, Awesome article! Thank you for so eloquently stating what I have know for many years. I recently retired after 30 years in the SEABEES and my wife Mary is my HERO! There is no way I would have ever made Master Chief without her. Now after 26 years of marriage and 16 deployments the shoe is on the other foot. My wife, a nurse joined the Air Force about 5 years ago to finish her own military career, (she started out as a honest Navy Corpman), and I couldn’t be prouder of her achievements. Mary gave up so much to follow me around all those years, there is absolutely nothing I would not do to help her further her own! She is currently in a Doctorate of Nursing program, (something she does AFTER work) and credits her time as a Navy Wife for giving her the confidence to do all that she has done, and I BELIEVE it. You women (and men) are AWESOME!

  120. Thanks Kristen! It also take a special kind of couple to do what you and your husband do! Kuddos to you both and Thank you for your service. 🙂

  121. What an awesome article! My husband and I are both active duty. In the air force and have one beautiful daughter. I give props to all the military wives for all they endure. It takes a special breed of women to do what you do!

  122. Edie-I am so glad this gave you what you needed today. Of course we want our spouses and need them, (like earlier mentioned by Marc :)), but we have to put ourselves in the right mindset to keep going. We have to choose if we want what we have. If you do want it, you work for it. For us, that means going through the deployments and the loneliness, because in the end, we want our spouses, our marriage, our lives with them, etc. 🙂 Keep your chin up, you got this!

  123. Draw2much-Thanks for the great comment! I’m really enjoying all the people it is reaching and hearing their thoughts and interpretations of it! I’ve been told I have a lot of patience. But, honestly I thank the Navy for always making us “hurry up and wait!” 😉 You either end up very laid back or very up tight. lol Thanks for writing!

  124. I needed to read this today! We have done the deployment thing, the baby thing, and the being apart for training. But today I was sitting here having a pity party feeling quite ‘dependent’ upon my man, who is away for about a month with no communication. Here I am sitting at home with sick kids and 8 months pregnant! It’s the first time we’ve never been able to talk while he’s away, and I’m having the toughest time with that! Seems silly that his communication would be my main hangup- but it’s true! He is my best friend and I’m feeling all sorts of lonely! However, I read your article and got a little boost of “I can do this!” again… thanks Marie 🙂 Well written!

  125. What a great article! A friend on Facebook linked to it. My husband was in the Air Force before I married him and we’re going on 8 years this May. My Dad was Air Force too. I’ve been submerged in military culture my whole life. (Which is why I greatly respect Navy and Army spouses, they got it tough!)

    It really boggles the mind that military spouses would have a reputation for being lazy. Where on earth does this come from? The military lifestyle is a make or break thing for a marriage. You either become independent and creative or you divorce. Needy is really not an option if you want to keep your sanity when your spouse is gone all the time. And it’s rare to find a truly lazy bum of a spouse in the military, they’re either parents (of multiple children), working, volunteering, or some combination of those things.

    Frankly, you are far more patient than I would have been! Such talk from the mouth of someone who’s never experienced the intense loneliness and anxiety that comes with having your spouse deployed is insulting. Ugh!

  126. Marc, first, Thank You for your service. Your comment is great and much appreciated. You are right, it is just semantics. Culturally “Dependent” has become a dirty word. The title of my Blog “They Call Me Dependent” and my Newspaper Column, “Anything But Dependent” is merely a play on words because of our status in the military as spouses, aka “dependents”. My columns are usually light hearted and fun. I encourage other spouses to have humility and see the humor in it all. We have to. This was written for those who need the reminder that we are not “the dirty word version” that first floods peoples mind. The tricky part is that the antonyms for “Dependent” are: independent & unconditional. It’s important for spouses to know that they are independent. Most days we need that “super cape” feeling just to get through a deployment. Of course we say we need our spouses…but the difference between need and want is huge. Dependency can be interpreted as “needy” which is how a lot of civilians see us. This column is all in fun. I pray that this never happens, but if our spouse doesn’t come home tomorrow, we will be crushed and yes a wreck, but eventually we pick ourselves up and live, because we want to, not because we need to. I love my husband unconditionally, I don’t “need” him (even though I say it over and over again ;))….I “want” him in my life. Again, all semantics. I hope everyone interprets my columns into what they feel they need/want in that moment. I’m glad you brought this up! It never crossed my mind once someone would interpret it that way!! Thank you for sharing!! 🙂

  127. Marie, nice work and for the most part I totally agree with you. There is one part that I wouldn’t totally agree with, but I suppose some of it is just semantics.

    I am active duty Navy with 20 years of service and my wife has been with me for 18 years. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her because I need her, and by definition that is dependency. Culturally, we have somehow made dependency a dirty word, associating it with weakness or inferiority. I think that’s why you went out of the way to say that, “Military wives are strong, smart, resourceful…” I guess what I’m saying is that I have no problem saying that I am totally dependent on my wife. I would be a wreck without her. Dependent doesn’t have to be a bad word. I think it’s an essential part of human intimacy.

    I have the utmost respect for all military wives, and military husbands as well. Thanks for all that you do for us and for our country!

  128. Thank you Kristen! Yes, I love, “Annie Get Your Gun.” It was one of my favorites in my History of Films class. I was merely talking about the teasing between children. It did become a childhood saying (at least in my generation), sadly most would never have known it came from the musical or that it was a song! I love that you knew that! 😉

  129. Wow Thank you so much for this! I’ve been a Navy wife for 7 years now and I can truly say that sometimes it is very annoying to hear people talking about how easy the military spouses have it. When it’s not easy at all to be military spouse! In my 7 years as a Navy wife I have given birth to 3 girls and my husband was only here for one of them. I guess you can say that i’ve been lucky cuz my husband has only been on one deployment so far. I have heard several comments along this kind of line and they really annoy me but I don’t have your kind of guts cuz I could never bring myself to say anything. Thank you for standing up for all of us Military Wives!

  130. Well written article and very true, espically the part about losing your best friend to deployment. When I went throught my first deployment what suprised me was everything falling apart paled in comparison to how much I missed my husband. The saying “Anything you can do I can do better” is not a childhood saying. It comes from the musical Annie Get Your Gun.

  131. Lauren, Thank you for the very thought out comment. I see it every day. There is something happening in our society where generations are becoming so self consumed that they lack all the most traditional values. It’s being called the “me generation”. They have a sense of entitlement that only puts more focus on their ignorance. I see it with financial decisions, with political views, and just how people interact with one another. Even putting myself in their shoes is helpful. I don’t blame them. They were taught this…somewhere, somehow they learned their behavior. I only hope by example we can be a better influence. They can’t live happily in a world that only revolves around themselves. Again, great comment!

  132. Thank you! You have no clue how awesome this post is!!!! My lawn mower and trimmer wouldn’t talk to me yesterday, it wasn’t pretty…

  133. Thank you so much for your article! My husband is active duty in the Navy. We have 2 children; the second delivered while he was deployed this last year. I work full time and can completely relate to the challenges of moving that you talk about. We have experienced 3 deployments together and are preparing for another one at the end of the year. Some people need to take a step back and try to put themselves in the other person’s shoes before they shoot their mouth off with insensitive comments like the woman at the checkout line. That’s the problem these days is that society has become so self centered that they lack compassion, and respect for others; people are so quick to judge what they don’t understand.

  134. This article is amazing…alot of these servicemen and there wives are very young. It just gives me such encouragement for this countries future. These people are truely the best of us.

  135. Thanks Tina! You are absolutely right about walking in our shoes. I hope it opens everyones eyes to never judge or assume. Even for us inside our “military walls” there can be a lot of judgements towards rates, ranks, branches, etc. I think we can all do better. 🙂 Thanks again for taking the time to write, I look forward to hearing from you again soon!

  136. A big high-five to you Marie from and Army Wive living in Germany!! Keep up the writing, cause I am enjoying it, even though this one is my first. It’s sad that other women outside of the military think we have and easy life and we just depend on our spouse and the military for things. Only if they could walk through our shoes!

  137. Lana ~ You made my day by writing. My best friend lives in Japan. Isn’t it amazing how small our “military world” is?? I hope readers will find that my blog is multi-branch and even “civilian” friendly. I’m not just a milspouse writer. I’m a Mom and Wife. I will be sharing many stories as time goes on. This is just the start. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time from your day to write. I know that branches can’t compare deployments…the are so uniquely challenging and different, but by God we can relate and understand each other. 🙂 Enjoy the kids while they are little, I miss those days! I hope to hear more from you soon! Thanks again!

  138. This article was shared by a Navy Wife friend of mine who lives in Japan. I woke to it this morning and read it in Germany with my morning brew. I have shared it and I think about 20 of my fellow Army Wives have shared it on. My Husband is currently on his second tour. Last time was 15 months and we are 10 months into this 12 month tour. I have a 15 Month old daughter and a 3 year old Pug at home. I hold down the fort very well but nothing seems to combat the loneliness. But your article this morning gave me smiles all day. Thankyou so much for sharing! And your right, unless you have lived our life, its hard to truly appreciate it!

  139. Julie~Thanks so much for the great comment. This goes for Air Force, Army, Marines, & Coast Guard spouses as well. The strength of the women I have had the pleasure of meeting is constantly inspiring. It’s the greatest “perk” of military life. Nice meeting you Julie! 🙂

  140. Hi Marie, You GO girl!!
    I’m an Air Force spouse but lived in Naval Submarine Base Housing for 3 years and even after living through deployments myself I have MUCH respect for Submariner’s wives! Those undersea deployments are brutal, I can get e-mail and phone my husband almost daily when he’s deployed, not the same for you ladies. Kuddos to you and those who also walk in your shoes. 🙂

  141. Lillian~I’m sure you got teary eyed because our lives are so similar that it hits close to home for you. You are more than welcome. I didn’t do or say anything special. We all feel that way inside. 🙂 Cheers to you for taking on the world one day at a time! 😉

  142. Pamela~I completely agree with you and believe that is what marriage should be. Sadly, so many don’t see it that way.

  143. I’ll admit…I got a little teary at parts of this. My husband, an active duty submariner also serving back to back sea tours, will be deployed during the birth of our third child, due in September. Our other two children were planned to be born on shore-duty or during shipyard periods…but this one….well, God had other plans about the timing.
    Fifteen years in the service…..nearly 11 of those we’ve been married (together 13) and we know we couldn’t live this life without the other. I care for ‘my end’….our current house, our property in another state we hope and pray to one day live in again, the children’s schedules, the dog, the lawn, the managing of finances…..knowing that without his hard work and sacrifices as a father none of this would be possible. We live for the weekends home, the unexpected ‘early’ day (meaning…before dinner), the rare chances he has to see his son practice with his gymnastic’s team or his daughter march in a parade with her Brownie troop (of which I’m a leader). THOSE moments make up for the 100+ hour weeks while in port, the long weeks away when the boat if ‘under the water’ and then, of course, the deployments.
    THANK YOU Marie, for standing up for the hard working Military (and especially submarine) Spouse.

  144. What a great post! I especially love this line, “We believe that without each other, we wouldn’t be who we are today.”, because it is so true. My husband and I have traveled every step of this military adventure side by side, emotionally when it couldn’t always be physically, and we gain strength from one another.

  145. Lydia~ lol Thank you! 😉 I’m glad you found me too. I love Blogging for the interaction with readers. Not as many people write when it’s in the paper. I look forward to hearing more from you!

  146. Thanks Erin! I love to hear from spouses when they read this. I hope it gives you a little extra pep in your step today! I meant every word. Have a wonderful day!

  147. I love this! Army wife here, just gave birth to a baby girl and my husband is on deployment number three in the Middle East. Being a military wife can be a tough life sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade my husband or our life for anything in the world! God bless!

  148. As my friend Ashley said when she shared this on Facebook: Amen, sister! Now that I’ve found your blog I look forward to reading a lot more!

  149. Wow so happy about reading. This we just moved and my hubby is about to go out for 6 moths It just made me feel sooo good that I am not alone and with moving and have lost all frinds I made in the last place we lived and the stress of getting a suppost system togther befor he leav sometimes feels like to much but reading this halp I hate all stuff say about us navy wives I am a stay at mom but when he goes out he know that home is taken care he has nothing to worry about I am not lazy and never have been so thank you for your kind words about

  150. Carol~Thank you so much for your kind words. What a wonderful comment! It means a lot to everyone who reads it! God Bless! 🙂

  151. Stacey! Thanks for the great comment. I completely agree with you, but I didn’t leave anyone out. I started this blog years ago as a “Submarine Wives Blog” and it grew into more. My weekly Spouse Column was run on a Submarine Base and so I was writing for the readers, that’s all. Since then, I have done columns on military spouses with the focus on the male spouse. I am just now adding more of my columns to this blog and those will be in the mix soon. I couldn’t write about something I knew nothing about…I felt that was a little obnoxious on my part and people would be put off since I have no connection or reference. I’m a submarine wife, so I blog and write about what I know. And until recent changes, there were no male spouses in our world, though I’m looking forward to it and I am sure there will be many more post to come! 🙂 In my book, your husband is amazing and I hope you point him this way. If he enjoys writing, tell him to send me an email. I’d love to have a Male milspouse perspective on things! Last but not least, thanks for speaking up. I’m sure someone else was feeling the same way you were and didn’t want to say anything. 🙂

  152. Though my husband is not military I absolutely loved your post. I cannot imagine what you wives endure everyday. When I see my extended family and friends that have spouses in the military my heart goes out to them! Though I don’t know exactly how you all feel, I can empathize and am truly grateful for not only your spouses that serve, but for you all that are holding down the fort at home as well! Those who serve need spouses that are supporting them and taking care of home…I’m sure it keeps them going. God bless you and all military wives/husbands, your spouses that serve, your children, and your families and friends. I can only speak for myself and my family…but we appreciate ALL of you!! God bless and may He protect you all and keep you in perfect peace!

  153. Although I appreciate your perspective, you’ve left out the other half of the equation. I am active duty Navy. My husband stays at home with our three children, and although I’m sure he doesn’t operate at the same tempo as all spouses, he is a man, raising 3 children, essentially by himself. He is patient, but lonely. He feels all the same horrible feelings that you do, but he is an outcast. Modern society refuses to accept that a man would stay home with children while his wife is at sea, and the other “Navy Wives” see him as an outsider too. He doesn’t get the same recognition that the wives do, and my co-workers immediately think less of him because, well, he is my “dependent”. I often wonder if people consider how it feels to be a man referred to as a “Navy Wife”. Again, I appreciate all that all of you do, but I really wish that he would be made to feel like the hero that he is to me instead of the outcast that he is to everyone else.

  154. Thanks Angela! I hope the next time you are having a bad day (I have them too) you can come here and find that you are not alone. 🙂 Thanks for the great comment and for sharing my blog! I look forward to hearing from you again soon!

  155. This is awesome. I have been a navy wife for 4 yrs. in that 4 yrs i gave birth to two children and ive been through 4 deployments and countless underways. its amazing how easily people will judge us, not only for being “needy” but my favorite “you knew what you were getting into” when i have a bad day where im missing my husband a little more that day. I love this and have shared it on my facebook!

  156. I feel like I should yell, ” I love you too!” 😉 Thanks Katie. I love that this is being shared. I don’t know what gave me the “cahoonas” to say what I did. I was just so upset. I was dressed in heels and slacks that morning and this young woman was in jeans and a t-shirt….maybe the heels gave me a little boost. I’m sure her mental image of us never included being put together. Hopefully she won’t be so quick to judge again. Thanks for commenting!!! 🙂

  157. I love you! Someone on my fb news feed posted a link to this article and I am so happy you were bold and stood up for military wives to a lady’s face! Seriously how rude can someone be.

    Thanks for your sacrifices!

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