Military Spouse Magazine

FEB 2019

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spouses, there seems to be an unwrit- ten rule where people can say negative things about military spouses, but if you say anything negative about a service member you are being disrespectful. Even military spouses who are just trying to engage in conversation with fe- male service members may feel the need to tread lightly based on past experiences when stating their opinion ended up in a situation where they were humiliated. AND THEN THERE IS THE "I SERVE TOO" ISSUE Military spouses and service mem- bers use the same words to describe different things or don't understand the other side's experience. When military spouses say, "I serve too," this can ruffle all kinds of feathers on both sides. For the military service member, the word service is tied to signing up to join the military and being willing to give the ultimate sacrifice. While military spouses don't serve the military in that function that doesn't mean they don't serve the military. Military spouses make count- less sacrifices to support their service member. Maybe they gave up their career to follow their service member to the next assignment. Maybe they are the one who constantly has to take time off work or bend their schedule to accommodate the deployments, training and endless temporary duty assignments. Being a military spouse is often a lonely, hard and thankless job. UNDERSTANDING OUR STORIES The best way to bridge the gap be- tween military spouses and service women is by getting to know the oth- er's story. Until you actually meet and get to know a military spouse the only thing you know are the stereotypes. And until you actually meet and get to know a female service member all you know are the stereotypes. Stereo- types that are not good. Stereotypes that are often expanded stories or per- ceived truths that are rarely factual. Military spouses are not lazy, attempting to get a free ride. Mili- tary spouses are strong, determined and are willing to bend over back- wards to make military life work while taking care of their family. Many military spouses are work- ing in careers that don't meet their qualifications, but they have a hard time finding and keeping a job with all the demands of the military. Female service members are not sluts, using pregnancy as a means to get out of military obligations, or fooling around with married service members. Female service members are strong, determined and work hard to make it to the rank they have ob- Want to share your story or thoughts on this topic or other important topics facing the military community? Email us at . tained. They are professionals. And, if they stay in after marriage and kids, they have to make countless sacrifices while trying to find the balance of keeping a career and raising a family. How many stories do you know about the women who have served our country? Or how many mili- tary spouses do you know and can talk to about their experience? The only way we can close the divide is to listen to the other side. H FEBRUARY 2019 / MILITARYSPOUSE.COM 23

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