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How to Empower Other Military Spouses

I think most of us, whether we’ve been a spouse for one year or 20, know how it feels to be powerless in our role of “dependent.” Sometimes it feels like we’re fighting an uphill battle in our day-to-day life as our spouse trains for and fights in real battles. Many of us know what it feels like to feel completely alone. Maybe you’ve wanted to change that. Maybe you’re tired of seeing spouses tear each other down when our circumstances often do that enough already. Instead, maybe you’re looking for ways to build each other up and empower other military spouses.

Here are some stepping stones that can lead to the empowerment of one another:

1. Don’t be a bully on social media spouse pages.

Seriously. If Kathy is asking where the CYS office is on the installation and it’s been asked a million times, just answer her anyway instead of saying something snarky. If Clarissa is venting or complaining about this crazy spouse life, don’t screenshot and send it to her spouse. Keep scrolling, offer constructive advice, or message her privately if it’s inappropriate. If Debbie just asked a question that is so obvious or naive that you find yourself cringing, don’t jump down her throat. If you know the answer to her question, then answer it with patience. 

2. Volunteer with the FRG, and make it the best kind of FRG.

We hear this line all the time. “Oh, I don’t mess with FRGs. I had a bad experience once.” Or, “My FRG never does anything, so I don’t even bother.”

The only one who can change what your FRG looks like is you. Volunteer! If it isn’t active, then start it up. If it’s falling to the wayside, then ask how you can help. If you want an active FRG, then go out and do it! Get those rosters together and start making events. In time, the families will come. And once that happens, you’ve now given them a safe place to run to. And that’s an incredibly powerful thing.

3. Take classes and be informed.

On most military installations around the world there are classes specifically for spouses, yet they get very little attention or funding (or both!) and are rarely advertised. Find them. Seek them out. Take them. Most offer child care and only last a day to a week. Get certified. Learn all you can. In the future, you can spread the wealth to other spouses.

4. Seek out the new spouse, and help her find her community.

I’m sure many of us remember what it’s like to be young, a newlywed, or spending a lot of time alone; for some of us, it might have been all three at once! For many spouses new to the military community, it’s the first time away from family or living hundreds to thousands of miles away from everything they know. They rarely leave the house and are often isolated from a sense of community. Help them. Invite them out for coffee or to the dog park. Plug a young mama into your own mom group, and be there for her. Answer her questions. Hold her hand until she can stand on her own. Hopefully, she’ll find her way and pass your example on to the next new spouse.

5. Stand up for yourself, and show others it can be done.                   

Some of us have been bullied by others at some point in our lives. Many of us have been made to feel “less than.” Sometimes it happens because we are married to the uniform instead of wearing it ourselves. Know your rights. Stand firm. Fight for yourself and your family. When the battle is won, show others it can be done. Pave the way for the spouses standing in line behind you. Advocating for yourself is the best way to empower other spouses.

 

Shine a light for the spouses around you, because if we don’t then who will?

Author

2 Comments

  1. Patricia

    Army Wife Network is a wonderful opportunity. My mom, now
    Deceased described herself as an Army wife and mother who
    Was also a teacher of 25 years, however, she did not work
    During my dad’s active duty years of 26. Military families are unique
    And have challenges and experiences civilians know nothing
    About.

    Reply
    • Sharita Knobloch

      Thank you for sharing your story and support, Patricia! Sounds like your mama was a special lady.

      Reply

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