Picture a whole pizza with the toppings distributed evenly over the entire pizza. Now take a slice and you will see that the slice has a piece of every type of topping that was on the entire pizza.
This is how I see the military spouse community. We are a slice of the civilian community as a whole. Every type of spouse in the civilian community has equal representation in the milspouse community. Therefore, the stereotypical military spouse is a fallacy.
I find the stereotypes very offensive and I cannot understand those who base their non-acceptance of the military community on those stereotypes. We don’t have to like every spouse just because they are milspouses, but we shouldn’t disregard them immediately because they are milspouses.
Our goal at a new duty station is to find people we “click” with. The best way to do this is to approach each new person with an open mind. If we get to know some things about them, we can make a more accurate decision about whether or not we would like to invest more of our time in getting to know them. Isn’t this exactly what we do when we encounter new people in the civilian community?
Maybe we need to look at each other as individuals and not as milspouses. My connection to the military community does not define me. It is just a part of my life at this time.
There is so much more to me than my husband and his career. I paint, crochet, knit, read paranormal books, love music, volunteer, raise two daughters and have three cats. Wouldn’t it be logical to assume that others have more to them than their spouse’s military career? Why not give them a chance? Why let the few bad experiences you may have had with milspouses tarnish the group as a whole?
I have learned over the years that my experience with the military community is what I make of it. I choose with whom I spend my time and I have chosen people who don’t create drama, who have similar views about the military community, and who have shared interests.
The majority of them are milspouses, because they are the ones I come into contact with more frequently. The fact that they understand life within the military community is a bonus and it’s great to have someone who understands a situation without needing an in-depth and lengthy explanation.
To have a great pizza, we need a variety of toppings. The same goes for our milspouse community. All these different people have so much to offer a person who finds herself/himself in the midst of the military community. Why not take advantage of the common bond, created by shared experiences, to provide a foundation for some lasting friendships?
Melissa L. Campbell has been married to an active duty Marine for 23 years and has 2 daughters, ages 14 and 11, and 3 cats. She is currently living in the Cherry Point NC area and enjoys taking care of her family, painting, crocheting, reading paranormal novels and spending time on the computer. She has also been volunteering for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society as a caseworker, Client Services Assistant chairman, and donates crocheted baby blankets for the “Budget for Baby” layettes.
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