Dear Ms. Vicki,
My husband graduated from West Point two years ago, and I am basically living below an acceptable standard. I was never raised like this. My poor grandmother has been sending me money for the past year just so I can have the things I am accustomed to.
Ms. Vicki, I was told that Army wives are paid a monthly stipend just for being a wife at a minimum of $800. The amount is supposed to increase based on rank. Mine should at least be $1,000. Could you please let me know who to talk to so I can discuss this issue? I have not seen any of this money, and it’s been two years now.
I’m used to nice expensive things, and my husband promised my father that he would take care of me just like he did when I was living at home. I’m so jealous of my little sisters because they are still living at home with my parents.
When I go home to visit, the first thing my mother does is take me to the hairdresser because I’m a mess and I can’t afford to get it done. I feel so sad and angry every day.
I’m mad at my husband for choosing to be in the Army, and I’m mad that I am living in such an awful place. I don’t think this will get better for me.
I’m so homesick, and the other wives act like this is the best life they have ever had. They are not like me. We are not the same, so I don’t have any friends. Everyone keeps pushing the Family Readiness Group -- the FRG this and the FRG that, but the women are like Stepford Wives who live, eat and breathe the Army. They are ridiculous!
I have an undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma in education, but I can’t get a teaching job because Texas makes it so hard for someone like me to get certified.
I just don’t know what to do anymore, and my husband is stressing out because he knows I’m not happy because he doesn’t make enough money. I’m trying to understand how to adapt to this situation, but I don’t think I can because I can’t live like this.
My parents spent thousands of dollars for my wedding, and I feel like they did everything for nothing.
Dear Miss Oklahoma,
Whew! Where do I start in answering your letter? I’m not sure if you are asking for advice or if you simply wanted to vent.
From the tone of your letter, I think you may have been too immature to get married. I can see that you are very close to your parents. No one knows their children like parents do. Because of this, I wish your parents would have told you that you were not ready for marriage.
Who told you that Army wives get a stipend? Honestly, I keep getting this question from wives asking about monetary benefits. To answer your question, there is no stipend, no monetary benefits for military spouses.
Servicemembers can choose to give a monthly allotment to a spouse or whoever, but the money is deducted from their own pay. It does not come from the Department of the Army or Department of Defense.
You definitely deserve the best. Every woman deserves the best, but you sound like a spoiled Daddy’s girl who misses home because you were pampered instead of given the opportunity to be independent.
Listen, you are a wife now and you need to decide if you are ready for the responsibility because your responsibilities will increase. You are stressing your husband out about his pay and making him feel like a failure when the truth is that he is very successful. He graduated from West Point and has taken an oath to serve his country.
You should be so proud of him for this accomplishment. Instead, you are putting him down and making him think he does not measure up to your Daddy.
Furthermore, you are making disparaging remarks about all military spouses like we are beneath you, but this is not true.
Here’s the deal: You can give up and move back home. Or you can stay with your husband, grow up and stop depending on your parents and grandmother to support you financially. Military.com and SpouseBuzz.com have a lot of information and resources for new spouses.
You need to get a job. I’m from Texas, and I have many educators in my family. I’ve never heard them say that it was a burden to become a certified teacher. However, you have to follow the procedure. In the meantime, you should register to become a substitute teacher or get employment in a different field.
Your complaining is not helping. I think I will stop here before I say something that is not very nice. I’m trying to consider your age and give you some understanding. I wish I could help more.
|Ask Ms. Vicki Family and Spouse|
Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.
Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.