By Brittany Slawson, Co-Founder The Milspo Project
Unlike the majority of military spouses, I have the unique experience of being a prior service military spouse. That means that I previously served in the armed forces, specifically, the United States Air Force. This perspective is extremely unique because it comes with its own challenges. The first challenge that my husband and I faced was the decision for one of us to get out of the military so we could be physically in the same location as one another.
When my husband and I first discussed the possibility of one of us getting out of the military, it was definitely a hotly debated topic. You see, being in the military isn’t just a job; it is a way of life. It is life. From dictating where you live, what you eat, and with whom you interact, it becomes this all-encompassing lifestyle. To me, it was everything. It saved me from a life of what I call ‘13th’ grade. It allowed me to pursue my dreams, get an education, get experience in a field that I love, and most of all, it got me out of my little town and into the big wide world. The prospect of leaving all of that was daunting. However, being a hopeless romantic deeply in love with a man I knew to be my soul mate allowed me to take the leap into the unknown. He still had three years left on his military service contract, more time in service, and was higher ranking, so it was easier and more logical for me to be the one to end it. He even changed his job in the Army to the same field that I worked to increase our chances of being stationed in a place that I could find employment. None of this, however, could prepare me for what would transpire over the coming years being a military spouse.
I had always heard about “military spouses” being in the military myself. In my specific job in the Air Force, the stereotypes weren’t extremely prevalent. The spouses I knew didn’t fit the predisposed mold from which “military spouses” are allegedly made. None that I knew were cheaters or lazy, and certainly didn’t marry for easy money and a cushy life. The spouses I knew were mostly loyal, and when they weren’t, it was a huge scandal, not the standard. They were generally high school or college sweethearts that stuck by their marriage through the good and the bad that military life presented them. This stereotype that had been abolished in my mind as an Airman, was renewed when I finally moved to an Army post to live with my husband.
When I was finally finished with my service, I packed up my stuff in Maryland and moved to Louisiana to live with my husband for the first time. Having known him for two years, I had heard stories about soldiers and spouses, and let me tell you, they were not good. These people were just ridden with scandal and craziness. I had never heard or witnessed anything like it. I’m talking cheating of epic proportions, STDs, wild parties, wild fights, and arrests. The full gamut of everything you shouldn’t do as a spouse. However, I was fortunate enough to find in the mix, a handful of women (mostly my husband’s friends’ wives) that were just completely awesome ladies. I would describe them mostly as self-motivated, devoted, and loving spouses. Once again, my faith in the military spouse was renewed.
From then on, I have had nothing but good experiences with military spouses. In fact, I have made life long friends with the military spouses I have befriended, including the ladies that are part of this organization. I have never met such talented and motivated ladies that not only want to personally succeed, but help others find their way to success. In the great words of Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”