By Danielle DeSimone
You’ve heard of the challenging cross-country moves, the holidays and birthdays spent apart and the stress of daily life in the military – but what about the incredible, life-changing parts of being a military spouse?
Life as a military spouse may sometimes be difficult, but the benefits far outweigh the challenges. Here are five benefits of being a military spouse:
1. You Are a Part of the Military Community
Undeniably, one of the most incredible parts of being a military spouse is being part of the larger military community. While being a part of a military family could mean constant PCS moves, living in remote locations or foreign countries orbeing far from home and family, the upside is that through it all, your military community is right there alongside you.
The military community is a unique one, and the tight-knit nature of such a community means that you will always have a support system and a group of people who truly understand the sacrifices it takes to be a part of a military family.
2. As a Military Spouse, You Get to Travel the World
Yes, the prospect of moving to a new city, state or country approximately every two years may sound daunting, but the upside is that when you’re a military spouse, you get to see the world. The U.S. military has duty stations everywhere from Japan to Spain to Hawaii, giving you plenty of opportunities to see corners of the globe that some people only dream about.
If you get homesick on this military journey of yours, there is always the military’s “home away from home” – that is, the USO. There are more than 250 USO locations across the U.S., Europe, Southwest Asia and Pacific regions, giving military spouses and their families a familiar and consistent place to turn to, no matter where their service takes them.
3. Friendships With Other Military Spouses Are Unbreakable Bonds
As a military spouse, you build lifelong relationships with your fellow military spouses – and these aren’t your usual friendships. Only another military spouse can understand the stress and chaos of single-handedly managing a household and a job while their service member spouse is deployed; or how difficult it is to make friends or maintain a career when your life is routinely uprooted by a PCS move. Because of this, the friendships you forge with military spouses are bonds that will last a lifetime.
A great way to get to know other military spouses in your community is through the USO Coffee Connections program. These events bring spouses together to relax in a comfortable setting, share advice, learn about local events and make new friends over a cup of coffee. The USO has long offered a virtual version of this event for spouses that live far from a brick-and-mortar USO location, called USO Coffee Connection Live.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, more military spouses have tuned into these online events, and many of the USO’s other military spouse programs have gone virtual, too. Through such events, military spouses from all over the world can tune in and connect online in order to build friendships, no matter the distance. Your fellow military spouses are the only people in the world who truly understand the challenges and joys of being a “MilSpouse,” and those kinds of friendships are invaluable.
4. You’ll Have Flexible Career Opportunities
Yes, despite the stereotypes of life as a military spouse, you can have a robust and rewarding career throughout your service member spouse’s career in the military. Many spouses can take advantage of their service member’s Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, which can include payment assistance for college, graduate school and other training programs to further your career.
Since life as a military spouse often translates to a life on the move, military spouses can also take advantage of remote jobs that allow their employees to work anywhere in the world. Many of these jobs exist in the technology sector; in fact, Google previously partnered with the USO to fund scholarships for service members and military spouses to earn their Google IT Support Professional Certificate. This certificate could assist participants in springboarding into an IT support career, which often offers remote work opportunities.
Military spouses can also utilize the USO Pathfinder® Transition Program to find a career path that works for them. This program assists members of the military community in preparing for life beyond the military by creating with a customized action plan for further education, employment, financial readiness and more.
5. You’ll Serve as the Backbone of the Military
Being a military spouse is challenging. However, as you explore your latest new home, navigate the loneliness of nine months of deployment or tackle the stress of a life constantly on the move, you’ll slowly but surely grow a backbone of steel – and whether you realize it or not, as a military spouse, you serve as “the backbone of the military.”
Without your support back home, our service members could never do their high-stress work of maintaining the safety of our nation. As the backbone of the military, you keep our service members strong and contribute to their crucial missions.
This story was originally published on USO.org in 2021. It has been updated in 2022.
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