It takes a strong person to volunteer to fight for their country, but the family members who stand behind them have to be just as strong. Without a fireteam, a squad, or a battalion, military spouses and families show strength every single day. May is Military Spouse Appreciation Month, and I’m taking the opportunity to celebrate the incredible strength and persevering spirit of military spouses everywhere.
Military Spouses: Showing Strength Since 1775
When the American colonies formed a Continental Army to prepare for the Revolutionary War, they created military families and spouses, too. Since then, family members and loved ones have supported their service members through every one of our country’s wars or overseas engagements.
In the early days, service members had few options for communicating with their loved ones. Those who could write sent letters by a carrier whenever possible, but many wives and fiancées sent their partner off to war and didn’t expect to hear from them for months. Thankfully, communication options have improved in the modern age, and many deployed troops now have the option to send emails, do video chats, or send daily text messages from around the world. Nevertheless, spouses still deal with the uncertainty of technology, from weak Wi-Fi signals to communication blackouts, and unfortunately, there are still no communication options for submerged submarines! Military spouses can take comfort in knowing that communication uncertainty has been part of the “job description” for hundreds of years. To all those patiently waiting to hear from their loved one overseas, we celebrate your strength.
Strength Through Every Move
Military spouses are no strangers to challenges. There are many who have packed up their belongings and moved across the country, only to do it again a few years (or less) later. With every PCS move, it is the spouse who holds the family together. He or she researches everything there is to know about the new town, finding schools, churches, exercise groups and more. They set up the new home, carry on the family traditions and help the kids unpack their belongings and their emotions. The military spouse often sacrifices career opportunities to support their service member’s career. Nevertheless, despite PCS obstacles and employment challenges, military spouses are active volunteers in their communities, creative entrepreneurs, savvy business owners and community leaders. We celebrate the strength of military families sent to all parts of the globe.
Strength on the Homefront
Whether or not the service member is deployed, a military spouse must learn to be independent and do a lot on their own. They tackle challenges of solo parenting, deal with the frustration of broken appliances or natural disasters and figure out how to live in a new city where they don’t know anyone. Military spouses are flexible and adapt to every new obstacle the military throws their way. They are creative, and find solutions and just make it work, even when they feel overwhelmed. If you are working hard every day to do what is best for your military family and community, we salute your strength.
Strong Enough to Help Each Other
Military spouses may be independent, but the strongest ones know the importance of community. Sure, they may have what it takes to get through a PCS or deployment on their own, but they also know that individuals become stronger when we help each other. The military community has always been able to care for its own because military spouses are pillars of strength who help each other in times of need. They also know that it’s perfectly okay to lean on friends and ask for help during the tough times. There is no shame in asking the military community for support. In fact, knowing your own limitations is a sign of strength, not weakness. It takes strength to seek help to make life better for your family. It’s a strong person who admits that they can’t do everything on their own all the time. If you are a strong military spouse who occasionally needs a listening ear or guidance, we celebrate your strength.
No matter how strong you are, everyone has bad days, and on those days, the strongest people seek out support. Military OneSource offers free, confidential counseling sessions which can be done online or over the phone; you can learn more about those services here. Don’t forget, the military community is here for you to keep you strong so that you can keep doing all the amazing things you do as a military spouse. Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Month!