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Military Spouse: Our Nation's Secret Weapon

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Having a strong military is part of our nation’s history and for the majority of our citizens there is a great desire to recognize and support our troops and their families. There is an unspoken need to give back to those who choose to fight for our rights and freedoms and insure that they have the resources they need to handle the challenges that go hand in hand with military life. A strong military must be supported before, during and after battle and although we are making progress we can do more - especially in the area of spousal support. 

No longer are we a community that believes, “If the military wanted you to have a wife they would have issued you one”. In fact military leaders are beginning to see the value of strong spousal support and it is becoming clear that spouses are an important component in today’s military community. Military spouses are an incredibly powerful tool, a secret weapon if you will, that is at our fingertips and serves our country in a very important way. Military spouses are the eyes, ears and backbone of our armed forces and these individuals have the ability to make a significant impact in troop strength, resilience and morale. 

The military spouse is like a silent powerful warrior that is an asset when it comes to insuring that our troops are prepared not only for duty but for the battle beyond the battle. They are the first to notice red flags when something is amiss and have intimate knowledge on the needs of their service member. Military spouses support and empower in ways leaders can’t, they provide strength and encouragement and have become the driving force behind programs and organizations that help our service members get the treatment and care they need. 

The job of a military spouse is complex. I don’t think any of us would say it is easy to live a life filled with change, chaos and stress. In fact it is challenging beyond measure to stay strong and encouraging to a service member whose career is filled with danger and uncertainty. Whether it is the constant moves and ever-changing schedules or deployments, reintegration and transition our spouses need better resources and programs that address all of these things. 

I hear it time and again that the strength of a soldier begins with the family. So doesn’t it make sense that we place a higher priority on helping military spouse’s deal with the stress and chaos that comes with the military lifestyle? It’s time we do a better job of supporting our spouses so they can better support their service member because when a spouse is strong and resilient, the service member can do their job more effectively. 

Taking care of those who take care of and walk beside our heroes begins with making the needs of this community a priority. No more assumptions that they have the skills to handle the fallout of years at war, let’s help them grow stronger. We must take the time to better understand what our spouses face day in and day out and provide them with tools, strategies and coping skills that will help them thrive as they address the unique challenges they face. 

It’s time to stop thinking of our spouses as an extension of our service members, but rather an incredible asset to our troop’s well-being. We need to put a priority on events that teach valuable skills and make tangible and relevant resources available for our spouses to use as support as they deal with the stress, chaos and change that comes with military life. This is the community who will take care of our service members and the effects that war has on their physical body and emotional mindset long after their time in service has ended and we must be proactive in making sure they have the tools they need to do the job well. Our soldiers need it, our families need it and our nation needs it.