Last week my military id was confiscated while I was visiting the clinic.  Yes, someone just took it and didn’t give it back.  Yes, I knew it was expired.  Yes, I was hoping nobody would notice.  Yes, it was embarrassing when I was escorted into the clinic like a criminal.  Yes, it was a big fat pain to take time off from work today to get a new one.  And yes, I should have known better.
As I drove back to work with my shiny new id (with a much better photo than my last one), I thought about some other no-no’s I’ve seen firsthand as a military spouse.  I’m not talking about unofficial rules like no public displays of affection while your man is in uniform or not letting your kids where his uniform for Halloween.  I’m talking about the little tidbits I’ve picked up over the years through experience and observation.
Here are my…
Top 10 Things NOT To Do as a Military Spouse
10) DON’T let your military id expire (or your power of attorney or your vehicle decal or any other document that’s essential to military life).
9)  DON’T trust your husband to properly answer the question, “What am I supposed to wear to fill in the blank event?”  Call another spouse to confirm that you’re appropriately attired.
8)  DON’T ever think you’re alone.  If you’re not a social type who likes to attend command events and get involved in your husband’s community (hmmm, like someone I might know), read blogs, read books, find a handful of close friends.  There are a ton of ways to remind yourself that what you’re feeling isn’t unusual.
7)  DON’T wear an inappropriate dress to a military ball or your husband’s Christmas party or any other event that will likely have a photographer present.  (This is especially important when combined with #6.)
6)  DON’T get sloppy drunk at a military ball or your husband’s Christmas party or any other event that will likely have a photographer present.  Similarly, don’t allow your husband to get sloppy drunk either.  I actually once saw a fellow mil spouse tape her husband’s mouth shut because he was so drunk and obnoxious that she was scared of what else he might say.  Sadly, when I think about this couple, that’s what I remember most.  You don’t want to be remembered for your drunken conduct.
5)  DON’T forget to check in on other spouses whose husbands are deployed.  I was once the wife everyone forgot to call.  It’s not a good feeling.  On the flip side, DON’T forget to ask for help when you need it.
4)  DON’T wear your husband’s rank.  I haven’t run into this a lot, but I can tell you it isn’t pretty.  You not only hurt a lot of feelings, but you look like an idiot and you risk making your husband look like an idiot too.  Unless you are in the military yourself, you do not have a rank.  So don’t act like you do.
3)  DON’T trash talk any service member you’ve had a less than pleasant encounter with while you’re at your child’s playgroup/the base pool/the commissary/Bunco/basically anywhere that service member’s wife might also be attending.  This is especially important if you live on base or in a small military community.  And yes, I’ve been on the receiving end of this one too.  (I chose not to tell the new mom at playgroup that I shared a bed with the person she was quite passionately complaining about.)
2)  DON’T ignore advice from seasoned spouses.  Whether it’s about deployments, PCS’ing, cool duty stations, the ins and outs of TRICARE, or military etiquette, they’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt.  Almost everything I know about being a mil spouse I learned on Bunco nights with the girls.
1)  DON’T let your title as a military spouse become your entire identity.  It’s only a piece of who you are, not everything you are.  Make sure you nurture all those other pieces of you.
What would you add to the list?

30 Comments on Top 10 Things NOT To Do as a Military Spouse

  1. I just want to say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! There are so many in and outs to military life, that every now and then its nice to see the others who as stated in #8, that are going through the same thing.

  2. OMG #9- Christmas 2009 my husbands command had a dressy Xmas party. I wore a cute dress. Success. Christmas 2010 I ask my husband what to wear. He tells me "semi-formal". I say, are you sure?!? That is REALLY formal. He says yes I am sure. He helps me pick my dress. We show up to the party. It is outside. It is a LUAU. Everyone is in jeans and skirts. I am in a (adorable) short, deep purple, strapless dress with a black sash bow. WTF. I wanted to cry in the parking lot. Husband says, "What?! EVERYONE else is under dressed. You just look better than them!". He doesn't get it. I will never make that mistake again ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. This is great! Its all too often that spouses don't think about these things and often having to learn first hand. But having been a wife for years now and am going into the military myself its good to know that there are still spouses out there with some Military Common Sense like yourself. Thanks for posting this.

    Oh and possibly to add to your list, spouses should abide by OPSEC! Spouses don't realize you can endanger not only your soldier and other soldiers lives you are endangering families as well. Think twice about what you post on FB ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. OHHHH, Don't call your spouses CO on "his behalf" for any reason, or email, text, etc. It's better that the military person takes care of said issues and then report to CO or what nots, depending on situation…

    Make acquaintances with everyone, but only FRIEND the awesome people. We're all in this military lifestyle together and the O v E doesn't apply to spouses. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I absolutely love this list!I have experienced every single one of these and it's not great to be on the receiving end. I wish all mil-spouses read this!

  6. Awesome list! Such great advice ๐Ÿ™‚ #8 really hits home – I totally felt alone at the beginning since we aren't in a military community here. So glad I found all of the blogs and online resources to help me find my community!

  7. When we lived on post people used to piss and moan about the clinic and the staff ALL THE TIME. I absolutely LOVED saying I was the new doctor's wife. Hilarious. I love seeing people try to get their feet out of their mouths. 'Oh, uh, the doctor was nice, I was just referring to the clinic in general…' LOL!

  8. My husband of 9 years just left for OSUT two days ago ๐Ÿ™ We are both really anxious and excited about this new journey ahead! Cannot tell you how great this post is! Love your blog! Do you have any advice/tips on specific posts or first PCS? Thanks!

  9. Love this list! I've been having some issues with people doing #4 and I don't really know how to react, so I try to ignore, but really I just want to shake the ridiculous right out of them.

  10. This is all extremely good advice…especially #3! I've seen that go very, very badly for other spouses who have chosen to share their opinion of the commander and chief in groups and on Facebook. Not only did it make the spouse look horrible, it also made her husband look bad.

  11. I guess I agree with #10 and #8. I didn't have an ID for the first year+ we were married and have never met anyone from my husband's unit. I did talk to his boss once when he broke his leg on base and they called to tell me what hospital he was taken to. As the wife of an Air National Guard pilot, there is no community for me to be part of. While he's deployed to Afghanistan, my kids and I just get by and take care of ourselves. The rest of it doesn't apply because we have no contact with anyone from the unit and haven't during the 4 years or so we've been together.

  12. You would think the O v E Spouse issue shouldn't exist but they do where we are know. I and another spouse are good friends and we both just pcs'd to the same base. There's an office wives group that she was invited to because her husband is an officer. She asked if I was allowed to join (c'mon my husband is an nco and instructor with a degree as well which means we are no less the people that you are) and they said yes but they keep convienetly leaving me off the invite list for the weekly get together and I feel bad when she asks me if I'm going to the such and such spouse night out and surprise it wasn't posted where I could see it but everyone (but me) was personally invited.
    Let's all be the military family I was a part of as a child and please be inclusive of all other spouses!

  13. I Love love love this! So so true… to all of the above. And I just did my first Bunco night last month and I have to say I kind of love it!

  14. OK, I loved this post… and read it because it was in your top ten… I so agree, and in this military community it is why I choose to keep to myself. The majority of the spouses here are on the "Don't" list!

  15. This is really helpful. I'm fairly new to this whole military spouse thing! We've been married for 6 months and I'm still a little lost sometimes lol. I grew up around it but never realized how different it is being a spouse rather than a daughter/ sister. Thank you for the tidbits. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love your blog!

  16. i remember 10 years ago my hero and i were at a ball,a lady walked in wearing a black dress. we about died because i bought that same dress out of fredricks. let's just say it was not meant to be worn as a dress

  17. I definitely agree that you should never badmouth another service member because you never know who you're talking to. I've been on the receiving end of this, where a wife was bitching about my hubby and I was so embarrassed for her that I didn't even have the heart to tell her that I'm his wife!

    Great list!

  18. Add… Don't be a Robot, just because you're a military spouse doesn't mean you have to make the military your entire life. Your husband is military, leave it at that, and go on with you life's goals just like he is.

  19. Best book, got it free from military onesource~Homefront club, its a very amusing read! And great for all walks of military. I agree it isn't our whole life, but if you embrace it a bit volunteer and go to an event once in awhile it shows hubby support by leaps and bounds even if he isn't wanting to go to the events.

  20. Actually, it IS an official rule not to show PDA while in uniform. Your service member can get in trouble for it, officially.

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