We always hear the words “men and women in uniform,” but we seldom come across the term “military husband.” It’s not that they don’t exist. They are out there, and there are plenty of them. They are just unnoticed. I am one of them. The following list reveals eight things people may not know about us:
1. Our number one trait is our unwavering devotion to our wives. We follow them wherever they may go. This is non-negotiable.
2. Our careers are second to the armed forces. Every three years or so, whenever our wives receive their new orders for a PCS, we also leave our jobs. We normally do not sustain a career, and this can go on for 20 years. Sending our wives to the frontlines while we stay at home can be really tough. This also means that we’re always the ones to miss work whenever our kids are ill.
3. On top of having to change careers every PCS season, a lot of our experiences can be emasculating. We are the man of the house, and we’re supposed to be the main breadwinners. But due to our love and obedience to our wives, we have to swallow our pride, leave our jobs, become unemployed for a while and just hope that we land a good job in our next duty station very quickly.
4. Yes, we are homemakers too! Some of us believe this is best for our families. However, people do not always match that profession with the word “man.” I am currently a homemaker because my children are on a waiting list at the base’s afterschool program, and we were told it could take a year for them to be admitted. So I have taken this opportunity to earn my second master’s degree while being a stay-at-home dad. My wife enjoys this set up because she gets to come home and enjoy a delicious dinner made by the best chef in the entire world – me!
5. We do not always fit right in. When my wife was away on a deployment, most of the events sponsored by her command were crafted for military wives and children. Do not expect us to show up for book clubs or to help make a quilt to be sent to our troops. A lot of times, we are the only male spouse at these events.
6. The military does not always have programs and support groups dedicated to male military spouses. We deal with separation and long deployments way differently than our female counterparts. Try searching for “depression” and “deployments” on the web, and you will find many articles that discuss this issue directed toward female spouses. There is way too little research done on depression of male spouses and partners.
7. We are military dependents, and we didn’t serve before. The very next question people usually ask after they find out I am a Navy husband is whether or not I have served before. Society still tries to find validation that though we are now dependents, we have at least done our uniformed service before, and this can be a really sad experience.
8. In spite of all this, we still love our wives and support them 100 percent. We can be as ecstatic as any military family member whenever our wives get a promotion or a commendation. We may not always show it the same way in public, but you can be sure we are leaping and screaming inside our heads. We do our best to continually empower, encourage and inspire our wives to excel in their positions.