Photo Courtesy of: Wayne Perry
My wife has only been enlisted for 9 months now. I am NOT an expert, but I can say without complete conviction that I have first hand felt the extended hand of others reach out to me with an encouraging word when I needed it most. There is only one problem with that, the hand that reaches out to me is that of a woman. While we all as MILspouses face some of the same tests, I believe us guys have a few extra “bonus questions” on those tests. Nearly every activity that is offered for MILspouses is geared towards the ladies. And I do NOT blame the powers that be. The percentage difference is so tremendous when you compare the number of female MILspouses to their male counterparts. Just as supply and demand goes, so goes the areas of need that are to be met.
It’s no secret men and women are different. We have different likes and dislikes. We have different views and outlooks. We are just plain different. And typically it is our differences that keep us separated from being close to the opposite sex. (That and guys are jealous by nature) But what happens when on the outside nearly everything is the same? Same struggles with deployments, same struggles with doing life alone while married, same kids that need to go to playgroup, etc. Where can we as guys turn?
The Homefront United Network (HUN) has asked me to help start writing for them to give some insight from a male MILspouse’s perspective. I look forward to this. Not only do I look forward to writing for HUN, but I look forward to recruiting other men to share their personal stories as well. The one common thing I have heard as I have reached out to seek other male MILspouse’s is ”I feel like I am alone”, when in fact, they couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a growing percentage of us out here; it just takes some digging and looking to find one another. In fact MILspouse.com has just announced that Robert D. is the Navy’s representative for MILspouse of the year. And is going to be going against the spouse’s of the other branches of the military for the title of MILspouse of the year.
The male MILspouse is no longer an extreme oddity. We are all around. But we like different things. And that’s why you may not see some of us at some of the family events. Because those events are typically catered for and by women. But as men we can’t let that stop us. We must be willing to step across some of the borders that hold us back. We must be willing to cross into the areas that women dominate and accept their welcoming hand. We must be willing to stand behind our spouse and encourage them as long as they choose to serve. But above all else, we must be willing to be committed to serving our families as sacrificially as our spouse’s serve our country.
There is one thing that I can’t seem to shake from my head no matter how hard I try. With the stresses that are associated with being married to someone in the military there is no wonder that there would be a high divorce rate. But the difference between the rate a male soldier gets divorced compared to the rate a female soldier gets divorced is simply mind blowing. In an article by The Military Times published in 2008 the percentage of male Army soldiers who divorced was somewhere around 2.6 %( or 1 in 47ish couples). The number of female Army soldiers in the same time frame reported nearly 8% of female soldiers have their marriage end in divorce. That is almost one in twelve families being shattered. I have been unable to find any recent statistics, but I would find it hard to believe these would have changed dramatically in the two years since. And I can’t help but wonder if it’s because us guys feel like the others have told me, “I feel like I am alone”.