On Military Spouse Appreciation Day, I could not think of the word to describe the quality I admire most about military spouses. “You know what I mean,” I pled with everyone I saw. “It is that thing military spouses have that lets them look at the evidence and keep going. They know about year-long deployments. Babies born while their dads are away. Blogs like You Know You’re a Wounded Warrior Wife When…’ They think to themselves, ‘That isn’t going to happen to us.’ Or, ‘We’ll figure that out when we get to it.’ Then they marry the military guy anyway. What is that trait called?”
“Obstinacy?” said my managing editor. “Or maybe optimism?”
“Magical thinking?” suggested my husband.
“Ignorance.” stated my business partner.
“Pigheadedness.” snorted my neighbor.
“Courage? Constancy? Bravery? Resilience? Love?” suggested my mom.
Everyone knew that quality I meant. Everyone recognized that ability of military spouses to look at a future that by definition contains the elements of separation and danger and feel like they could probably handle it.
“That’s self-efficacy, Mom,” said my 18-year old — the one who is going into the Army in 51 days. “Self-efficacy is basically confidence in yourself. It is the belief that what you do matters.”
YES. Self-efficacy. That trait is exactly what I appreciate most in military spouses. I appreciate that basic belief they have in themselves that they can pretty much handle what happens to them in their military life. Yeah, a lot of it may suck, but deep down that spouse is pretty sure they can figure out how to fix it. They can figure out how to carry their kids through it. They can see themselves as part of that group that builds a life with a military member then lives to tell the tale and make it look good for the youngsters.
So Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Reader. I love and admire and count on that confidence you have in yourself and your service member. Because that is exactly the confidence I have in you.