The military life is far from the life I originally imagined for myself. Both of my grandpas and my uncles were in the military, and I've gotten to see my Aunt and cousins live all over the world, but I never dreamed that someday I would become a military spouse. It's been a roller-coaster ride to say the least, the long-distance calls and moving away from family hasn't always been a smooth sailing. In a world of Facebook groups and Army Wife pages, it's easy to read the negativity and complaints that come with the military lifestyle. So here are some great, positive reminders of the amazing perks of being a military wife.
If it wasn't for the Army, I would have never lived in Georgia (at least, as far as I know). I would have stayed happily in my little Indiana bubble not ever knowing how amazing life can be living an hour from the beach. I've gotten to experience so many places since moving to Georgia, Savannah being one of our favorite spots, as well as weekend trips to Hilton Head, SC and Jacksonville, FL. I feel SO lucky that I live an hour or so from these beautiful coastal towns that I may not have had the opportunity to see otherwise.
My 25 year old self is SO THANKFUL for Tricare!!! It has always bothered me to hear people complain about things that are FREE, and Tricare is on that list of things I'm tired of people complaining about. I don't care if I have to wait a week for a Physical exam because IT'S FREE! I was AMAZED the first time I went in for an appointment and was given a prescription and when I picked up my meds I asked what I needed to pay and they said, "Um, nothing...." You should have seen the look on my face!! I think I said something like "Are you for real??" and they just gave me a funny look. BUT. FOR. REAL. Praise. Hallelujah. Don't get me wrong, not everything is free, but for someone who rarely goes to the Dr., this was an eye-opener and something I definitely wont be taking for granted.
If you're not familiar with military life, did you know that the Army allocates money specifically for our housing?? That's right, we get a certain amount per month to pay for our rent and groceries. There is absolutely NO WAY Steven and I would have been able to get married and live in Georgia together without this assistance. It FLOORS me to hear wives complain about their husband's participation in the military, or how they are jumping at the chance for their husband to "get out" - in the back of my head I'm thinking "You do know you're going to have to pay for your own rent, right??" I'm so very thankful for Steven's job and the fact that we can sleep soundly each night and not worry about how we are going to pay rent.
Marriage, money, school, babies, moving, and deployments can cause a lot of stress for any one, especially military families. Thankfully there are wonderful support programs for marriage counseling, budgeting money, activities for children, money for college, info for moving, and counselors to talk to during deployments. I feel like I'm back on my university campus with so many free opportunities to take advantage of! When my teaching license gets transferred to Georgia, the Army will pay for the fees, when we have to move to another state, the Army will pay for our move, when I need someone to talk to, I can go to a free wellness counselor, and the list goes on and on. I'm beyond thankful for the support the Army provides us!
5. Military Balls
So you went to prom, it was amazing, it was the best night of your life, you looked beautiful (for the year 2006), and now you're looking at pictures wishing you could do it all again. Well, now you can! As a military wife (or girlfriend), you get to attend amazing military balls and they are better than any prom you've ever been to, guaranteed! Be prepared for a formal dinner, chants and songs, elegant attire, and exciting traditions, and a picture perfect evening. So if you're regretting that dress you wore in 2006, you can try again at your next ball and it will be like those prom pictures and bad hair-dos never even existed!
6. Hellos and Goodbyes
It's true that distance makes the heart grow fonder. Believe it or not, the hellos and goodbyes are a perk of being a military spouse. Even though it is so hard to say goodbye, those homecomings are worth every moment spent apart. Steven and I actually got to know each other through letters (I like to say the "old fashioned" way of falling in love), and every time he's away, it brings us a new appreciation of each other and a stronger bond than before. With his first deployment quickly approaching, I know this will take a lot of strength on my end, but the growth between us to be great communicators and to show love through long-distance will be a great reward.
Whether you are a military spouse, a girlfriend, or your MILSO is currently in basic training, there can be a million reasons in one day to be frustrated with military life. It's my hope that my list of perks reminds you how lucky you are to be a spouse of a Soldier, Marine, Coastie, Airman, Seaman, or Guardsman!
The Hoosier Peach