Myths and Tips for the Military Male Spouse

male military spouse

Military Male Spouse Myths, Tips and Tricks

Civilian males married to service members exist, but are a minority. Depending on the size of a command there may only be one or two male spouses in total. Therefore, it can be challenging for men to find connections in military circles. Here are some myths debunked to help the men out there adjust to life as a spouse.

Myth 1: The Breadwinner Dilemma

One of the hardest parts about being a military spouse is the constant job hunt. You may not be able to find work that pays well and will be reliant on your service member for the bare necessities. Unfortunately, expectations for men to be the primary breadwinner still exist and may affect the male spouse’s mental health.

However, success and determination don’t stop at an employer’s door, and value is not always defined in a monetary sense. You can find ways to contribute to the household even if it is not what you had planned. Try adding the list below to your daily routine:

  • Cook a balanced, fun dinner three times a week;
  • Take care of household chores;
  • Complete household projects to save big money;
  • Run the weekly errands;

If you want to earn money and are not picky about what job you do, consider looking for a new career. With a little effort, you can rebrand yourself in to a jack-of-all-trades:

Tip: Participating in the base’s professional and spouse networking events will help you uncover job leads and come up with more ideas to be productive.

Myth 2: Spouse Gatherings are All kids All the Time

While raising children is a common theme for young married couples, do not expect every spouse’s gathering to be all about dirty diapers and arranging play dates. People had lives before they had kids. If you are getting tired of hearing about little Timmy’s report card, just ask about anything else!

Here are some conversation starters that stay a mile away from kids:

  • What are you watching on Netflix?
  • Have you tried (restaurant) yet?
  • Could you give me advice on how to do (activity)?
  • That’s a nice piece of art/photography, where did you get it?

Tip: The more you communicate and participate with the spouse’s group, the more they will be able to relate to you.

Myth 3: The Complaint Department

A spouse gathering must be nothing but wine tasting and gossip, right?

Wrong. When spouses get together, it’s not to complain about their lives attached to the military. It’s to enjoy each other’s company because they are in a situation together that requires a fair amount of emotional flexibility.

If you feel the spouse group is stuck in a loop, try suggesting an event that is different than the usual wine and dinner gathering.

  • Pub Trivia;
  • Mini-Golf;
  • Indoor Climbing;
  • Professional or Minor League sporting events;
  • Escape Rooms;
  • Art exhibit.

Myth 4: The Stoic Husband

Thousands of years ago someone decided men must bear the weight of their burdens individually and solemnly, and it has been that way ever since. Unfortunately, a military lifestyle (and life in general) is an emotional roller coaster. As a male spouse you cannot keep your feelings bottled up — the marriage won’t last past the first re-enlistment!

Plainly state what issues your military lifestyle is causing. If you are having trouble with a fluctuating schedule, say so. If you are worried about deployment, say so. The more your spouse knows what you are experiencing, the better they can help fix it. Marriage is a team effort after all.

Tip: Don’t forget that service members can take days off. If you are having trouble, ask your spouse to spend some time at home. You can spend the time together, or use it as a chance to get away from whatever is causing you stress while your spouse takes care of the home.

But Seriously, I Need My Bro’s

It’s understandable that you may need male contact outside of the military to keep yourself stimulated. Start by finding friends at some of the places below:

  • Open gaming night at the board game store;
  • Join a random golf foursome;
  • Banter with the boys at a cigar store;
  • Tell tales while fishing at the state park
  • Join a group of like-minded individuals.

 

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About the author

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Gregory App is a navy veteran and current military spouse. He studied writing at Temple University and has worked in a variety of fields including jobs with the federal government and non-profit organizations.