Military Life Resources Family & MilSpouse

You know you’re a military spouse when…

If you've ever written plans in pencil, asked a stranger to be an emergency contact or any of these other things... you might be a military spouse!
A military spouse waves goodbye to a ship
A U.S. Navy spouse waves goodbye to her husband aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS O'Kane (DDG77) as it departs Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, HI, for a deployment to the Western Pacific. US Navy photo.

As a military spouse, you aren’t employed by Uncle Sam. However, as an extension of their decisions and movements, you learn plenty of their tricks along the way. From dealing with moves to attempting to get a call through to TRICARE, to simply pulling into post, there are several nuances to learn about the U.S. government. 

Before you know it, you’re a “salty spouse” and can smell BS from a mile away. We kid, of course, but there are things of note that an experienced spouse can just pick out. Usually, the ones that newbies will never see coming.

For example:

Stock photo/Canva

When you walk in a new coffee shop and can spot the lieutenant from across the room. You can’t explain it, the haircut? The look of innocence? The bougie coffee with a side of laptop? You may not be able to put your finger on it, but without a doubt, you could pin the tail on every lieutenant in the joint. 

Or how you can spot a military family offpost. With a single driveby, you see the out-of-state license plates, the camper, the loaded-down yard, and the fact that they backed into the driveway. Perhaps not giveaways on their own, but combined? They’ve given away their stance as a military family for sure. 

Meanwhile, you aren’t appalled to get calls in the middle of the night; it’s just normal. 

A moving truck sits at the ready to move a family from Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, June, 16, 2021 to their new home and base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class David Phaff)

You speak fluent acronyms and don’t skip a beat while you’re rattling them off. When someone stops to have you translate, you realize you’ve fallen into the path of shortening and streamlining with jargon. 

You also know you’re a MilSpo when you:

  • Write all calendar plans in pencil
  • Don’t tell anyone about your PCS until orders are cut
  • Have zero energy for friends and family members who are shocked by Uncle Sam
  • Know not to spend the extra paycheck money 

You make friends at the drop of the hat … and have great moments with some family members who you know you may never see again. 

Then again, you may avoid making friends … just to keep from losing them once you all inevitably move away. 

Your kids were all born in separate states. You and your spouse have different area codes. And your last five addresses come with as many zip codes among them. If you can remember all of the above in a single breath, you’re a saint. 

Finally, you know to never be surprised. To take everything with a grain of salt. To look on the bright side because everything will change. And to count your best memories, because crazy as it may sound, you’ll miss it more than you think!