Being new at anything is always challenging. However, being a new military spouse can be intimidating, exhausting, and complicated to navigate. How do we make it easier for ourselves and others to join the ranks of the military spouse world? Instead of fostering a culture of exclusivity, let’s set ourselves up to be inclusive and supportive of one another.
Whether you are a brand-new spouse or a more seasoned one, there are ways we can all work together to include others. Here are a few examples:
Host an Event
It is easy to become a great host or hostess and doesn’t require an unlimited budget. Think of something you love and ask others to join you. Host a movie night, play date, coffee, lunch, dinner, watch party, brunch, happy hour, wine tasting, support group…the opportunities are endless. If you don’t have much space at your house, look into using a facility on base, or host an outdoor event at a pool, park, or beach. It could be as simple as asking a group of spouses to meet at the zoo, a museum, or the gym to workout. In today’s world, you can even host a virtual event.
Invite a New Spouse to Do Something
We have all been the new spouse. Remember and think about those feelings. How can we make that feeling a more positive one for someone else? Ask a new spouse to do something individually with you. Or, put together a small group and ask a new spouse to join in the fun. Most importantly, introduce the new spouse to the people you know.
Build a Bridge Between the Ranks
The argument has been around for ages, and it is a bit archaic today. The rank of our active-duty members has nothing to do with us as spouses. Therefore, their position should have no impact on who we choose to befriend and socialize with as spouses. However, this is easier said than done. Let’s work as one cohesive group to build a bridge between enlisted and officer spouses. We are all people first, and spouses second. We are selling ourselves short by dividing spouses’ groups and gatherings. The people you have the most in common with could sit on the opposite side of the table. Allow yourself the opportunity to get to know all spouses.
How can we support others in our roles as military spouses?
Volunteer on Base
Volunteering on base is a great place to give of yourself to others. Is there something you wish someone had done for you as a new spouse? You have the power to make a change and provide a different experience for others. Check out unit social media pages, spouse groups, and base facilities to learn about volunteer needs. Contribute to newcomer packets, become a social sponsor, or provide base tours for new spouses.
Volunteer in the Community
Do you have a passion that inspires you to volunteer in the local community? Grab a friend, get off base, and help out locally. Volunteering is an excellent way to learn about the city you live in and its culture. It is also a great way to include and meet others and bridge the gap between military and civilian families. Local schools, hospitals, and non-profit organizations are great places to start.
Become a Mentor
Mentoring one another is an excellent example of how to create a culture of inclusiveness and support. Please share your talents with others. You can mentor someone on life as a new spouse, career opportunities, parenting, deployments, and many other military life aspects.
As spouses, we are resilient, strong, flexible, and able to adapt to continuous change. Let’s use these attributes to create a new future for military spouses. Foster a culture of inclusiveness and support within our community. Together, in doing so, we will be able to accomplish more than we ever imagined as individual military spouses.
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