91

Why We Hate Military Wives

We hate military wives like it is our job. When someone posts about what they struggle with in their military life it is not met with understanding. Instead, commenters come forth with their verbal baseball bats at the ready as if they are hunting snakes.

But why?

Does anyone really hate military husbands? We are guilty of ignoring military husbands, maybe. But we don’t hate them.

That is why I am always taken aback at the vehemence against military wives that I see on not only on evil hater websites, but sometimes right here on Spousebuzz.

I don’t get that. I have learned to expect it, but I don’t understand it.

Here are the reasons I suspect we hate military wives:

1. We think they are freeloaders.

There are so many fakers claiming to have served in the military that President Obama had to sign a new Stolen Valor Act to keep them in check.

Well, guess what?  There is no Stolen Valor Act for military wives because there are no wannabees here.

No one grows up with Military Wife Barbie at the ready. No one puts together action-packed military wife movies.

No teenager gives up her vampire/Highlander/Kardashian fantasies thinking: I totally want to fall in love with someone who will take me to a rural location, leave me for months at a time and risk his life regularly for a modest paycheck and decent benefits. Sexy!!!

The uniform is pretty cute, I admit. But MilSos only turn up on our site when they are already in love with a specific person.  They want to know if they will be able to carry this off and what they can do to prepare. They are earnest.

So I don’t care if you do know a benefits hound. Or if you think you once read something you think came from a benefits hound.

If a person sets out to be a freeloader, there are much easier ways to laze through life than marrying into the military.

The truth is that the vast majority of military wives get into a military marriage because we love one person.  Because that person begged us to come with him.  Because we can’t imagine life without them.

2. We think “I am nothing like them.”

If there is one phrase I hear constantly among brides, bloggers, jobseekers, MilSos, senior wives, dual military and lawyers it is this:  I am nothing like them.

I’m guilty of this myself sometimes. I’ll meet a military spouse who is a helicopter mom or a chick who wears pearls and a twinset or a couple of poor things scuffling through the Exchange in their PJs and no bras and I will tell myself hotly, I am nothing like them.

Who is “them” exactly, Jacey Eckhart? Where did you get the idea that somewhere there are military wives who are all alike agreeing on the rules of what it means to be a military wife and finding you wanting?

This is not a club. There are no “Old School” wives sitting around by the hundreds talking about you.

Instead it only takes a wife or two to set off that “I am nothing like them” feeling.

Why is that? Write me when you have an answer, would you? Because I would like to never have that feeling ever again.

I am like “them” in the only way that matters:  I am building a life with someone in the military. And it is what nice people call “a challenge.”

3. We think they are angry.

On our site last week, one of our bloggers wrote about having a difficult pregnancy and getting care through the military health care system.

Most of the replies were from other spouses commiserating about their difficult pregnancies and how weird it is that the military thinks getting pregnant at 31 is advanced maternal gestation.

Yet, one guy had to go on the attack:

“The article sounds more like thinly veiled whining covered with a bit of sarcasm disguised as humor,” he wrote.

Yeah, buddy. There is, actually, quite a bit of “sarcasm disguised as humor” in that article. Because often that is how we military spouses deal with the things that make us angry.

Even though there is plenty for us to be grateful about in our military lives (personally, I am just glad my husband still thinks I am cute enough to kiss every night), there are plenty of things to be angry about.

But we can’t bear that. We can’t bear the anger of a military spouse because emotions are catching. If they are allowed to be angry maybe we would see how much we have in common with the angry wife and we would get angry too. And it is hard enough to keep yourself together much less someone else.

4. We think ‘Military Wife’ is not a role in life.

Nothing brings out the ugly in readers like a military wife who implies that she, too, is part of that big thing we call the military. This is one of our worst failings.

I can’t tell you how often I hear people say that being a military spouse is no different than being a doctor’s wife or a cop’s wife or the wife of someone who travels for business a lot.

There is a difference.

Sociologists in universities all over the country agree that there is a constellation of five factors that make military families unique.

Sure, you can find other jobs in which their partner is in danger, or is frequently absent (maybe not for 15 months at a time, but still absent), or moves the family a lot, or lives overseas, or experiences a lot of social pressure on their family.

But you don’t find all five factors running up and down the chain of command.

When study after study shows that military families cope with deployment as long as the caregiver (mom or dad or grandparent at home) copes with the deployment, why can’t we give even the tiniest bit of credit there?

Why aren’t people allowed to have a little pride in singlehandedly pulling a family through a deployment? Or arranging all the specialists, therapists and education for a special needs child after a move? Or wringing a career out of the world even through nine moves? Or helping another family in the unit through the worst time in their lives?

I don’t understand why these things make people hate military spouses so much. Do they think spouses are going to be a burden on society if they aren’t schooled about how useless/worthless/angry/bitter they are?

The thing is, I know plenty of spouses who go through periods of rage and disappointment and despair, but no one gets through this military life without getting mired in their own crap every now and again.

Why is it so hard for people to see those ugly stages as just stages?

Why can’t we see if we just stay with each other through the hard bits — the parts when they are trying to figure out who they are and trying to understand why their particular guy can sacrifice so much and be gone so often — then we get the whole story.

This is why we SpouseBuzzers don’t hate military wives.

I’ll take them bitter. I’ll take them whiny.  I’ll take them in their pajama pants and their despair.

Because I know that eventually, most military spouses pull through all that. They get to the other side.

When it comes to building a life with someone in the military, you either get over it, get through it, or get out of it.

Nothing comes easy.

I respect that.

About Jacey Eckhart

Jacey Eckhart is the Director of Spouse and Family Programs for Military.com. Since 1996, Eckhart’s take on military families has been featured in her syndicated column, her book The Homefront Club, and her award winning CDs These Boots and I Married a Spartan?? Most recently she has been featured as a military family subject matter expert on NBC Dateline, CBS morning news, CNN, NPR and the New York Times. Eckhart is an Air Force brat, a Navy wife and an Army mom.

Comments

  1. RGP says:
  2. guest says:
  3. jojo613 says:
  4. sabrinacking says:
  5. Guest #2 says:
  6. Guest #2 Cont. says:
  7. IAgal says:
  8. JillofMostTrades says:
  9. Lyn Peters says:
  10. Guest says:
  11. PI Guest says:
  12. Holly Antle says:
  13. the first mel says:
  14. Stephanie says:
  15. Stephanie says:
  16. Michelle says:
  17. Rachael says:
  18. Lori says:
  19. A Humble Spouse says:
  20. Able34bravo says:
  21. I guess says:
  22. Jan says:
  23. wanda morrow says:
  24. Tony says:
  25. majr0d says:
  26. vnoifvet7006 says:
  27. Greta says:
  28. Bill Mitzel says:
  29. SFC Alan Stahl says:
  30. MrsJ says:
  31. Brittnay says:
  32. JHess says: