Hidden Struggles Of Military Spouses



"If you are reading this, you should know that I am dead," wrote a 27-year-old Army wife on her blog last year, before she attempted to take her own life. Jessica Harp's blog post rippled through the military spouse community. I know what she feels like. It could have been me. Suddenly, the struggles of military spouses made it to the national stage.

And there are lots of them. Of course there are the extended separations, keeping house by your lonesome, the uncertainty of where your partner is or what they're doing or if they're in harm's way. But the military spouse endures so many other less obvious trials. And while these are shared daily in the military spouse community, particularly in its highly active online arm, they're probably rarely discussed by most Americans who are preoccupied with their own work-family issues.

So AOL Jobs spoke to three leading military spouse bloggers: Lori Volkman (pictured above), author of WittyLittleSecret.com, who was one of this year's BlogHer's "Voice of the Year"; Jacey Eckhart, the co-editor of SpouseBuzz.com, the editor of the spouse section of Military.com, and author of three books on military spousehood; and 2011 Army Spouse of the Year Crystal Cavalier. They told us about some of the issues that our country's 613,000 civilian military spouses face that seldom get splashy headlines. And may not have ever entered the thoughts of most Americans.




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Rebecca Sue Venters

I am a widow of an army service man who served over 30 years and died in the war of 2006. I am currently in college at Brown College of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The students started a club just for men and women who have served in the service and made it clear that students who are spouses and children are excluded from this club. This is the email sent to me: The Brown Mackie Warriors wants you!

Brown Mackie is one of the highest rated military friendly colleges in the nation. The Brown Mackie Warriors (Veteran's Club) is a new club and we are looking for
veterans from all the branches,as we all have fought the good fight.The club is open to students and staff, but unfortunately the invitation is not extended to spouses or children of veterans.
Could someone tell me if this is a violation of my rights as a spouse of a vet?

October 22 2012 at 8:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
POOHEAD!

I am an army wife. This article barely scratched the surface of the hell is is to be married to a soldier. I have never seen a bigger misuse of government money, abuse of power, lack of compassion, and incompentence anywhere.

September 19 2012 at 11:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
zumi0928

Just found out that the heartless Senent Repub have fillabused the GI ed bill Vote all Repub out for that

September 19 2012 at 10:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
NIGHTSUB

You make the best of a bad day.And suck it up.That's life and you will survive.My Wife And I were both in the military and it was no picnic.We learned to go without and we learned to live with what we had.It made us better persons and we would do it all over again.

September 19 2012 at 9:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sherri M

I returned to post again, after reading a lot more of the comments. Every spouse , every child, every family member serves every minute of every day of every tour. Period. And the aftermath of every tour is not just a brief readjustment period.It's for life. For those who say- 'it's all voluntary, so, don't enlist' or 'don't marry someone in the military'. Well, that would be dandy, except many people feel called to serve, and do so willingly. And, sometimes that call to serve comes after marriage. The civilian world views military spouses as not worthy of hiring- no matter their skills. Part and parcel of the life is that you don't always know when you'll get orders. I moved 39 times in 6 years- and that included his doing 2 tours of Vietnam. Whining? No. Just a statement of fact, nothing more. It's not for everyone, make no mistake. There are moments of intense pride and moments of intense stress- like when the living room is trashed to set up a 'sniper post'. Or finding him face down in the street when a car backfires. Whining? No. Just a statement of facts. Life is hard. There are certain careers that are a bit more stressful than others. Looking in from the outside is one thing, walking the walk, is quite another. Oh, and don't forget the front yard being boobytrapped.

September 19 2012 at 8:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
S321Saint

Not sure but to assume that because she is a woman...that she SHOULD be looking to have a full time job is, simply put, WRONG. They way the Obama economy is...with low paying jobs if you can find them... many feel that two income families are the way to go. But in spite of the propaganda that liberals push on TV and in schools, you CAN actually have a family without both working. But if you feel that at 25 you should have a house, three vehicles (one for recreation), I-phones and intenet acces for everyone, vacations every year, being able to party when you want, while your kids are raised at daycare centers or with babysitters...well I guess you have to do what you have to do.
Military spouses (usually women, but increasingly men too) have it rough. Frequent family relocations due to career military members and of course the deployments where they go to war leaving the spouse to do everything. Spouses have to put up with relatives and friends who simply dont understand. They say things like "why doesnt he/she just quit" or "why do you stay with him/her since they are gone so much". Then of course is the societal hate that liberals have for the military...making spouses third class citizens. Kids are told that Dad or Mom cannot wear their uniform to school or even sometimes not even TELL others their parent is in the military. And of course is that way Obama cuts the govt budget...on the backs of the military and their spouses. When you can quality food stamps while serving your country it shows the lack of respect this administration has for the military. Also the lack of money and help for veterans coming back to the VA for help. That includes the spouses too.

September 19 2012 at 3:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wurkinman1

I know it must be very tough on them, after helping our struggling friend for years and years of sending money for Christmas presents for the young kids, after sending money to pay the bills, after sending her money to help keep heads above water...now all of a sudden we get a call stating they just purchased a $750,000 home ???? My home is no where near that much, and I was the one sending the money...dazed and confused

September 19 2012 at 2:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
babsk16

30+ plus yrs as an Army Spouse, 20 yrs as an Army brat and now an Army mom. All of the services have many support programs for men and women ( men usually don't avail themselves of them, much to the frustration of those program directors). There are programs for deployed spouses, special programs for children of deployed military, educational programs, job hiring programs. The Services have spent millions on these BUT if you don't use them you loose them. It's not easybut walk out your door, go to the Army Community Services and find something to help yourself and your families. employers will always look at your VOLUNTEER time and those hours can/will help you develop skills for when you DO re enter the job market.
Ladies and gentlemen there is plenty out there, use it and use it well.

September 19 2012 at 1:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to babsk16's comment
chucki42

i hear ya. when i was in, the military said tdy and you did not miss it....period. wives used to complain all the time to the first shirt. there were programs in place to assist, but they wanted everything handed to them. they couldnt manage their monies. who said they had to drive the best and baddest vehicles or have the finest furniture and entertainment systems. i did 21 years and on average i was gone 9 months out of the year becausue of what i did. manage funds, utilize programs,

September 19 2012 at 4:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rickcraft55

When my son returned from his 2nd tour his youngest child did not know him. My son wanted so bad to hold her but she would have nothing to do with the stranger. I believe it is hardest on the kids.

September 19 2012 at 12:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jemccjr

I will never understand how we as a society put things back together after WW2 here and in all affected nations. Whole nations were in ruins and Europe built up with europen human capital and U.S. finance. Japan became a powerhouse and now China is a force to be reckoned with. The other thing I never could get was that every time we went on a fied exercise or deployment somebodies wife (or later on)husband departed. Then again these days there are financial incentives to do so....

September 19 2012 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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