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8 Things Every Military Spouse Should Know

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There are certain things that every military spouse, regardless of branch, should know about their husband or wife and the lifestyle they’re in. Beyond things like rank and who your spouse reports to.

As a Marine wife, I only knew some of these. I was also 19 and an airhead. These would have served me well and lessened my confusion once my husband was deployed. When he joined the Army, I was 27 and ready to learn what I needed to make our lives much easier. So take from my mistakes – get to know these 10 things that will help you ease into military life a lot quicker.

  1. Your spouse’s Social Security number. This is essential for everything – all my medical forms ask what our insurance policy # is, and it’s his SSN. I probably use his # at least 2-3 times a month, so get to know it quickly.
  2. MOS(Military Occupational Specialties), Ratings, AFSCs (Air Force Specialty Codes). This is your spouse’s job title, what he or she does. It has a name and/or a letter/number. Here are the ones for Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force. It’s important to know this as other wives will use it to find friends in their company’s, and you’ll need it if your spouse deploys.
  3. Missing holidays and birthdays. Last year my husband was out in the field for a few weeks when my daughter turned 2. We celebrated when he came home. Many people celebrate holidays and other important dates with their significant other missing. It’s a part of life, as hard as it is. If you know something will be missed, try to plan an alternative or celebrate via Skype if possible.
  4. Work comes first. In a marriage, most people are of the mindset that the other spouse and that relationship come first. But with the military, that’s not always the case. There are many times when my husband can’t blow off work or even take a scheduled day off to be home with us or go to an appointment. This can be hard, there are times I strongly resent the military’s constant part in all aspects of our lives, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t change it. It just takes a different mindset to accept.
  5. The left side/PDA. When walking, stay on the left hand side of your spouse. They must salute with their left, and need it free for that. PDA (Public displays of affection) are also discouraged in uniform, unless it’s at a homecoming event.
  6. Anticipation is (one of the) worst parts. Knowing your spouse is about to deploy puts a great deal of stress on everyone. The days often drag by as you wait for that moment you have to say goodbye, everything you do is, “This is the last time we’ll… for a while.” And it’s hard. But once it’s over, it tends to lessen that stress – even while the new one takes place.
  7. You’ll get in a routine. When your spouse is gone, the first few weeks/months are rough. Figuring out how to pick up the other half of what your partner did, managing it all on your own, it can take a while to find a new groove. But you do. And honestly – it’s just as hard to get back in the old routine when they come back, as wonderful as that moment is.
  8. There isn’t a “Thank You” you forget. Every person who has ever told me or my husband thank you for his service I remember. It’s one of the most powerful things you’ll ever experience.